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Don't skip estate planning just because you are single

Many Illinois residents are not married and do not have children. This may make them believe that they have no need for estate planning. In reality, it could be argued that single people actually need it more than others do.

For example, who will make financial and health care decisions if a single Illinois resident is unable to do so due to an injury or illness? Powers of attorney allow an individual to choose someone they trust to fulfill this role if needed. Otherwise, family members will need to go to court in order to obtain the right to make such decisions, which could take time and result in someone making choices that the incapacitated individual would not have made.

Then there is this question: What happens to his or her assets when a single person passes away? With no spouse or children, the estate will go to other relatives. It is possible that the individual would have made different choices.

Creating a will provides him or her with the opportunity to retain control over who inherits the estate. Some singles could benefit even further from creating and funding a revocable living trust. This provides even more control over what happens upon incapacitation or death.

Single people may not need the same options as those who are married or who have children, but they still need the protections that having a plan provides. Knowing the best way to structure an estate plan is not always an easy task. Numerous options exist when it comes to estate planning, and finding the best combination of documents depends on a variety of factors. The first step would then be to gain an understanding of the applicable laws and learn how to best apply them to a particular person's situation.

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