Virginia residents might think that estate planning is only for people who have large estates or are married with children. Young Virginia residents can be especially guilty of thinking that estate planning is unnecessary.
But in reality, it’s more important to set up an estate plan as a single individual. Your estate plan allows you to address things like power of attorney and advanced care directives – and the consequences for not having one are pretty severe.
What happens if you don’t have an estate plan
When you die, your estate is processed by the Virginia probate court. A detailed estate plan can help the process go more smoothly, saving your loved ones time and money.
If you don’t have an estate plan, the probate court has to sort out your affairs. Ultimately, they’ll try to give your belongings to the next of kin.
If they can’t reach your next of kin or no one steps forward to claim your things, the state might take possession of all your belongings. There is a time limit on settling an estate, so hard-to-find family members may lose out on an inheritance if the court can’t find them.
Planning for healthcare
As a single person, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have someone to care for you if you become incapacitated. That’s where having a detailed estate plan can help.
Estate planning also allows you to set up options for your end-of-life healthcare. When the time comes, you can set up things like advance directives and save money to pay for your care.
Many single individuals use estate planning tools such as trusts to set aside money to pay for things like a nursing home or aide for their home. You can also have advance directives that outline what should happen to you if you’re incapacitated.
Utilizing your friends and family members
Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’re alone. You likely have friends and family members who all would step up to the plate to help, but they will need the guidance that an estate plan offers.
It’s important to lean on that help when the time comes. Having a network of friends and family members can ensure that your estate plan is executed in accordance with your wishes.