Some people in Maryland may brush off creating an estate planif they do not have any children or a spouse. However, even people who are unmarried and without children should take a moment to think about what they would like done with their property and contemplate other end-of-life issues that could be addressed through an estate plan.
Even if people who don't have a spouse or children may still have an opinion about how property should be distributed. After all, a person's chosen heirs or beneficiaries do not have to be related to a person by blood. Unfortunately, without an estate plan in place, state law will determine how to distribute the deceased person's property to certain relatives, which may or may not reflect the undocumented wishes of the deceased. In some cases, the deceased's property may even go back to the state.
In addition to issues surrounding a person's property, a comprehensive estate plan will also have medical provisions. For example, a single person can create a medical power of attorney which allows a named person to make choices regarding the single person's health care if the single person is no longer in a condition to make choices. In addition, a health care directive can explicitly lay out the single person's medical wishes, so that they are known.
In addition, even people who do not have a spouse or children may still have assets to place in a will or a trust. These assets should be properly titled so that they can be effectively transferred to another individual. Beneficiary designations on assets such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies should also be kept current.