When a New York resident creates an estate plan, they may do so to ensure that their legal wishes are recorded in the event that they perish before their children are grown. A document like a will may provide guidance on who may take care of a person's kids if they become incapacitated or pass away. Trusts and other estate planning documents may be set up so that children are financially provided for even if their parents are not around to care for them.
Estate plans are therefore important to individuals who have spouses and families, but they should also be important to single adults who choose not to formalize their relationships or have children. A person who dies without an estate plan, regardless of whether they are married, may have their assets pass to relatives that they do not like per state intestacy statutes. Their property may become tied up in probate and may be depleted through the legal process of collection and distribution.
Single adults should prepare several important estate planning documents so that their wealth and assets are protected in the event that they pass on. They should prepare health care proxies and powers of attorney to give others the rights to make medical and financial decisions for them, and they should prepare wills that explicitly state where their assets should go upon their deaths. They may also set up trusts for particular purposes to meet their estate planning goals.
Estate plans are not just for the wealthy. They are not just for people with families. Single adults can benefit from having their own estate plans so that their wishes are recognized and honored with regard to the distribution of their end of life wealth.