For aging singles in Colorado, estate planning may not come into mind as frequently as it would for married couples. And it is not just a myth, Denver has been known for its numbers of single men resulting in a moniker of “Menver.” For singles who have no children or spouse, there might not be a sense of urgency for who inherits property.
Aging, however, often requires help from managing finances to making tough quality of life and medical treatment decisions. Whether you choose one person to handle these tasks or assign one person to one job, it is crucial to have trustworthy individuals who can help plan your estate. Here are some areas that you may need help with as you grow older:
Most married individuals rely on their spouse’s assistance if unable to handle their finances. Aging singles need to plan ahead and consider who they would like helping with budgeting and paying bills or taxes. A guardianship or conservatorship is often required when this planning hasn’t happened and then the choice becomes one for the probate court.
Once you have found someone, you need to sign a durable power of attorney document. This form gives a trusted relative or friend permission to handle your finances if you are incapable of doing so.
Singles must also consider medical directives and living wills. Designating an agent/proxy allows a loved one the ability to communicate with doctors about your treatment and make important treatment decisions. Give copies of these documents to the person you list for reference in emergencies.
If you pass away without a will, Colorado statutes determine who inherits your property. Singles may benefit from a trust to control distribution of assets to families, friends and charities.
Who should you choose?
As you age, you need to discuss your wishes with those you trust. Consider close family members, friends or co-workers who will handle your assets the way you want to.
There is also plenty of professional assistance available. Financial advisers and estate attorneys can examine your documents to help you plan for the future.