I have no one to leave my estate
In the 1960s, something like 72% of all Americans were married. By the census of 2017, over 110 million Americans were single, which is over 42% of the population. And guys I'm one of them.
I am single or have no children
The single population is also healthier and living longer than ever, which means you need to have an estate plan. Another surprising stat is that 63% of today's single population has never been married.
The question then is what does this mean for estate planning if you are single like me? It means you better have a plan in place for not only your assets, but for your wellbeing in the event, you get sick or become incapacitated.
Probate in Oklahoma Single Persons
Over the last three years we have seen a marked increase in the number of single person estate plans and probates. In other words, they weren't married. Well, it's a great thing that more and more single people are seeing the value of estate planning.
I can tell you that most of the probates, we have administered over the last few years are for folks who did zero, none, nilch. They didn't do any estate planning.
And I think this has been the attitude for a long time for a lot of people, not just single people. People tell me all the time that they don't care what happens because, well, they'll be gone.
I understand that feeling, but what they fail to consider is what happens if they get ill and they have no plan in place or what really happens to their assets if they have no plan in place.
In the last few years we have had some pretty significant estates for single folks who had done absolutely zero estate planning. All of them were retired at the time of their passing and had paid off their house, their cars and had zero debt, which is incredible.
They had average jobs most of them, but since they were single they saved a lot of money, and none spent very much of that money.
Mid income folks with millions of dollars in their bank accounts, a couple of them had living brothers and sisters who ended up inheriting their money. But a few of them had no living parents, no grandparents, no nieces, no nephews, no aunts and no uncles.
In those cases, we had to look to their cousins and the children of their cousins. We literally had to hire a private investigator to find heirs in one of them. One probate in particular had over 20 cousins, 20 cousins guys.
This was truly one of those situations like you see in the movies where a long lost relative inherits thousands of dollars from someone that they didn't even know existed. In that particular probate with the 20 cousins, only two of them had actually grown up and knew the person who had passed away. Can you believe that?
None of the other heirs had even heard of this long lost aunt due to a decades old feud and family living thousands and thousands of miles away from each other. They didn't know that the other ones even existed. In that probate each of the cousins received around $15,000, if I remember correctly.
Now, I really do not think this person this lady would have wanted her estate to be split up into 20 shares, but that's what happened because she did not have a plan in place. If she had thought about it then I believe, I truly believe she would have probably wanted those two cousins that she grew up with to inherit her estate.
She was also a frequent volunteer at a local charity, so maybe she would have wanted the charity to have a share of her estate, but we don't know because she did not have a plan in place.
With just a little planning her estate could have been split three ways, between her two cousins that she grew up with and the charity that she volunteered at. Imagine how much good a $100,000 would have done for that charity and for the two cousins that she grew up with instead it was split 20 plus different ways.
And guys, it's just not the money and assets that a single person has to think about.
What I believe is even more important, and you've heard me say this before is what happens when they are sick or incapacitated, that's a big deal. A huge part of proper estate planning is about making decisions ahead of time for what you want to happen if you are sick and in the hospital.
This is especially true nowadays and especially true for a single person that does not have a spouse to rely on.
We all need to have a plan that states, if you are incapacitated then Sally is in charge of all my finances, and Enrique is in charge of all my medical decisions. Without this plan, then someone is going to have to go to the courthouse downtown and get a court ordered guardianship over you.
I always say, we're entrepreneurs of our own lives, and someone needs to take over as CEO of you incorporated, if you can't make decisions due to being incapacitated.
I don't have to tell you also that going to court is expensive and guardianship proceedings are no different. It's expensive.
It really does not matter if you are married or single. If you fail to plan, then you're planning to fail. Your wellbeing will be left to the guardianship chords and your estate will be left to the laws of intestate succession and the probate courts.
I know this is a lot to think about, so that is why we put together our free guide on estate planning. I'll put a link below in the description and again, in the comment section.
So, click on this link to get a copy of our free estate planning guide that our clients use every day to get started in the right direction. And to up your estate plan game even more, check out this video up here and this video up here.
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