5 Estate Planning Must-Haves for Houston Singles

MP900430553"Everyone of majority age needs at the least a will, a health care directive and a named power of attorney," says Mike Sena, a certified financial planner with White Street Advisors, a money management firm. "The express purpose of estate planning is to make things as easy, as inexpensive and as simple as required for loved ones, friends and associates left behind. Every situation, every life is unique and some of us need more than others when it comes to estate planning."

Say that again. Everyone needs estate planning? Even singles?

You got it. But what estate planning items do Houston singles need the most?

Disability and long-term care insurance become more important to singles because—as you can guess—there’s no spouse or partner to help with expenses in the event of incapacity or an inability to work due to a disability, says a recent Main Street article titled “5 Items Singles Need to Handle Their Worst-Case Estate Planning.”

Married people have their spouse who can make medical decisions on their behalf. However, a single person has to plan for medical contingencies. He or she should draft a durable power of attorney for medical and financial needs in case of incapacity. Single people should think about who will inherit their assets when they die. If they don’t make plans, then the state will make these decisions.

The article relates the story of an attorney with a client who became disabled due to a brain injury. Even though the client had written a will in 1997, he never signed a power of attorney. This individual was not only single with no kids—he was an only child, so there was no one to help make medical or financial decisions. This person's first cousin stepped up, but had to go to court to get granted conservatorship to make decisions on his behalf, which took months.

The article lists five critical documents single people must have for estate planning purposes:

  1. Power of attorney. This is important for everyone, but especially for a single person. POA lets someone to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
  2. Health care power of attorney. This lets someone you trust make health care decisions if you are unable.
  3. Revocable trust. This is a private document to pass assets on to friends and loved ones.
  4. Living will.  This document has your health care wishes detailed.
  5. Will. A will is a public record to pass along and carry out your intent.

Proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you through the process.

For additional information on estate planning topics in Houston, please click here to visit my website.

Reference: Main Street (April 22, 2015) “5 Items Singles Need to Handle Their Worst-Case Estate Planning”


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