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Estate Planning Tips for Single People

For the single person, proper estate planning is just as important as it is for those who are married. A single person may also have children but does not reside with a partner. Nonetheless, single people should be mindful or the importance and necessity of a proper estate planning structure for their future.

It is always essential to remember that if a person (in this case, a New York resident) does not have a will when they pass away, statute will dictate who receives their estate when they pass. Essentially, statutory next of kin will receive their share of the decedent person’s estate regardless of that person’s intent if they do not have a valid will in place. For a single person who is not married, if they have any children, the children (or children of a predeceased child), will receive their respective share of the decedent’s estate. The necessity for a will is even more crucial in the even a single person has a child who, for their own personal reasons, has a child and does not want that child to receive their share of the estate. That may be due to the fact that the child may have not had any communication with or is estranged from the decedent, or possibly that child (assuming they are an adult) may not be responsible with money. In the case where a child has not reach the age of maturity, a will can contain a provision so the minor’s share is held in trust for a guardian to be named by a decedent. We would call this a “guardian for the property” of the minor child. And of course, a provision would need to be included for who should be named “guardian for the person” of that minor child assuming there is no joint custody arrangement for another. 

Clearly, one can see the importance for a single person to have a will in place. If the single person has no children, the next in line to receive a share of the estate would be: surviving parents, then surviving siblings, then surviving aunts/uncles, then first cousins. It is quite possible that a single person may have personal reasons as to why they do not wish to have such family remembers receive a share of that person’s estate. A will can be structured so that others, like close friends or a charitable organization, receive a share of a person’s estate. 

If you need an experienced Long Island estate planning attorney, please contact us at the Law Offices of Michael W. Alpert at (516) 280-7288 or e-mail: