Estate Planning Considerations for Singles and Massachusetts Law

Single persons without heirs have unique considerations when planning for the future. Unlike most married couples with spouses and/or children, they need to involve friends or other relatives in their financial, medical emergency and end of life arrangements.

Documents used to convey what should take place if a single person becomes incapacitated can include a durable power of attorney, springing power of attorney, a health care proxy advance care directive and an authorization under HIPAA. Employing one or more of these documents will authorize your agent to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are not able.

The springing power of attorney only comes into effect upon an event such incapacitation or disability. In contrast, a durable power of attorney applies when it is signed.

Despite being childless, a single person may have dependents such as parents or siblings. Perhaps, there are valued charities and friends he or she wishes to endow. Setting up a revocable living trust or making a will is the way to make sure that his or her wishes take precedence.

If there is no Will, trust, or beneficiary designations in place, the estate of a single person may become subject to Massachusetts probate process and is disbursed under Massachusetts law.

For those without family, choosing the right person to carry out your wishes might be difficult.  In this case, working with an estate planner is beneficial.