A recent article in the New York Times profiles 41-year-old Adam Cooperman, who launched a technology consulting firm in New York City eight years ago. He also at that time prepared a will and other legal documents. Without a spouse or children, Cooperman divided his assets equally between his parents and his brother. However, those relatives were 3,000 miles away, so he gave the right to make medical decisions if he is incapable to a personal friend. Things change. Eight years later, Cooperman has sold his business and is rethinking his estate plan. He might hand the nonfinancial powers to his relatives. “I probably named some friends I’m not as close to anymore,” Cooperman said. “But family is family.”
For married couples and parents, such estate decisions are usually routine. The surviving partner and offspring get both the money and the legal and medical authority. However, as the percentage of those in the U.S. who have never married rises, and as the population ages, more of us are giving trusted friends the right to make medical and financial decisions on our behalf. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2012, one out of five adults in the U.S. over age 25 have never married. In 1960, that figure was less than one in ten. While it’s vital to have estate planning documents in place if your family depends on you, it’s also important if you are single, because if you don’t name someone to handle your affairs, there’s no “obvious” person – like a spouse or an adult child – to whom that responsibility falls.
So if you’ve never been married – or if you’re married with plenty of kids and grandkids – or if your status is somewhere in-between, it’s important to name someone to handle your affairs and to make your wishes known in case of incapacitation. For the sound legal advice and help you’ll require to create the estate planning documents you need, contact an experienced Orange County estate planning attorney right away. An Orange County estate planning attorney can explain your estate planning options, create the documents you need, and provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve acted responsibly by doing the right thing. It’s never too early to begin estate planning. Make the call promptly.