Palm Springs Estate Planning for Single Seniors

Estate planning for single seniors is incredibly important. According to U.S. Census data, over 110 million Americans over 18 are single and unmarried. Nearly half of our country's population is single, a significant increase from 1960 when 72% of the country was married. Single seniors may be tempted to put off their estate planning, but doing so could have negative consequences.

Attorney Christopher Heritage understands the unique estate planning needs of single seniors. He has helped many single seniors throughout the Palm Springs area create estate plans that meet their unique goals and needs. It's never too late to start the estate planning process. Contact Heritage Legal, PC today to schedule your initial consultation.

The Benefits of Single Senior Estate Planning

People become single in various ways, whether through a divorce, widowhood or simply never having been married. Some single seniors have children, and others do not. Thankfully, attorney Christopher Heritage has the experience and resources needed to provide all of his single senior clients with the unique estate plans they deserve. Estate planning is especially important for single seniors who may not have children or close relatives to step in should they become incapacitated. Taking the time to engage in estate planning can help you ensure that you enjoy your retirement comfortably.

Protect Your Assets

Our legal system is set up to protect married couples after one of the spouses dies. For example, if a married individual passes away without a Will in place, a state probate court may transfer most, or all of his or her assets to the surviving spouse through intestacy laws. However, when a single person dies without a Will in place, the court will divide up his or her assets among the individual’s closest living relatives. His or her parents and siblings have the top priority. If they are no longer living, more distant relatives will receive a single senior’s assets. If the probate court cannot find any relatives who qualify under California's intestacy laws, the state of California will confiscate the assets.

After working your entire life to save for retirement and provide for yourself, it would be a shame for California to take your hard-earned assets. By creating an estate plan, you'll be able to protect your assets and choose whom you would like to receive them after you pass away. Many clients choose friends, family, or their favorite charities to receive their assets. By creating an estate plan, you're in the driver seat when it comes to distributing your property and assets.

Make or Update Your Estate Plan

If you do not have an estate plan in place, attorney Christopher Heritage can help you create one. If you do have an estate plan in place, you may want to update it, especially if you recently became single due to divorce or becoming a widow. For example, you may have listed your spouse on retirement accounts or other assets with a right to survivorship. If your spouse has passed away or you've been divorced, you will need to update the beneficiary of those accounts.

Create an Advance Health Care Directive

Creating an Advance Health Care Directive is especially important when you're a single senior. These legal documents designate someone you trust to act on your behalf to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. You can choose exactly which types of intervention you would like if you become unable to communicate your wishes.

Single seniors may not have immediate family members who are willing to help them in incapacitating medical situations. Sometimes single seniors appoint their estate planning attorneys, neighbors, nearby friends, or medical doctors to act as their health care representatives.

Create a General Durable Power of Attorney

In addition to creating an Advance Health Care Directive, it is wise to create a General Durable Power of Attorney, which allows you to appoint someone else to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Without a valid General Durable Power of Attorney document in place, California courts would need to appoint someone they choose to make important financial decisions on your behalf. They could select a total stranger who doesn't understand your goals, wishes, or financial situation. We recommend selecting someone you trust and who is aware of your general lifestyle preferences and financial situation. It's also smart to choose a backup power of attorney if your first choice is unable or unwilling to fulfill the duties of a power of attorney.

Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers Today

At Heritage Legal, PC, we understand the unique challenges facing single seniors in the Palm Springs area. Whether you need to create an estate plan or update your current estate plan, we are here to help. Founding attorney Christopher Heritage has an in-depth knowledge of California elder laws and the experience to create a unique estate plan that protects you and your assets. Contact our Palm Springs law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

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