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Estate planning for singles is vital

A recent Gallup Poll showed that the number of single people in the country is growing. In fact, 64 percent of those between 19 and 29 years old have never been married, and more than 18 million senior citizens are divorced, widowed or single. To some, it makes sense for married people to make wills and trusts, but estate planning for singles in Oklahoma may be just as vital.

Single people with no children may still have loved ones to whom they wish to leave their property. They may have been in long-term relationships or some have a special niece or nephew they want to make beneficiaries of their estates. Many singles have spent their lives working for worthy causes like charities, medical research or educational institutions. These organizations can benefit from receiving assets from the estate of a single person.

However, if a single person dies without a will or trust, chances are that the estate will not end up distributed the way the person would have liked. Unlike married people who typically inherit their spouses' estates, an unmarried person's estate goes to probate and may be handed on to distant relatives, disputed by would-be heirs or deposited in the state's coffers. Even a simple will can prevent this last possibility, although a trust is a more private and complete way to distribute one's assets.

Single people in Oklahoma may find comfort in consulting an attorney to discuss the options for estate planning. Having a plan in place is a starting point, and periodic review of that plan is recommended, especially if one's circumstances change. A person's attorney will provide advice on any aspect of one's plan.

Source: businessinsavannah.com, "Single people may need estate planning more than others", Michael Smith, Richard Barid, Dec. 20, 2016

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