You are Single and Have Less than $1 Million. Do You Still Need an Estate Plan?
Every estate planning attorney will tell you that you need a Will, but when you stop and think
about it, does a single person really need a Will if they have no assets?
In the simplest way put, a person who dies without a Will leaves their possessions in the hands
of the court to distribute. So what if that single individual with limited assets is okay with that?
Take a look at the example below:
Our subject is a single person with limited assets and who does not feel they need a Will (check
to see if any of these situations apply to yourself, especially if you think you do not need a Will
The individual has no children, but does have an incapacitated family member or aging
The individual does not speak to her brothers and sisters who live in another state.
The individual has a retirement fund for $20,000 that lists a parent as the beneficiary.
The individual lives in a condo that she owns, which is about $350,000 in debt.
The individual also owns expensive jewelry, a car, and some personal belongings.
Where the Assets Will Go
Since the state determines who receives your assets upon death, they will give those assets to a
relative who is capable of managing them, which would be a surviving parent, but if that parent
is incapacitated or too ill, it will go to the next eligible relative. The issues with this, however,
are that the single individual also leaves their debts to those beneficiaries, does not provide any
care or means to care for their ailing parents, and their assets can potentially go to family
members they no longer speak to or want to give their assets to in the first place.
Asset distribution is up in the air when there is no Will. Therefore, single, married, separated, or
living with a life partner doesn’t matter – everyone needs a Will.
Experienced estate planning attorneys Brooklyn NY of the Minko Law Office offers estate
planning and business planning resources to residents of Brooklyn NY. To learn more about
these free resources, please visit www.minkolaw.com/ today.
Reasons Why People Have Not Started Digital Estate Planning
Back in the day, an asset was something physical or at least something you could withdraw
from a bank account and hold in your hand. Today is the heart of the digital age, which means
people need to start working to protect their digital assets. Digital assets include documents,
emails, pictures and media files. Unfortunately, most people avoid the digital planning, even if
they have taken the steps to go through estate planning. Here are some common reasons why
people keep avoiding the issue of protecting their digital assets.
1. Those who start estate planning are typically in their 50’s or 60’s, which means they are
unlikely to access the internet.
2. The task of tracking down accounts and writing log-in credentials for estate planning is
something most people do not want to go through.
3. People do not like relying on online systems to store their digital assets.
4. Some states still do not recognize the value in digital assets.
5. Some legal professionals do not understand the complexity of digital assets when they
perform estate planning.
If you have digital assets, you should protect them. This can be done by addressing them with
an estate planning attorney as well as your family. Your family should know what you plan on
doing with your digital assets after your death. This will ensure that your digital assets,
whatever they may be, are protected.
The Pitfalls of Poorly Drafted Estate Plans
You have probably heard the rumors that one sentence that is incorrectly phrased can impact
your Will and Trust tremendously, but is it true? In a short answer, yes, the wrong wording can
greatly impact the outcome of your documents. Before getting more into detail, it is important
to understand why proper construction of a Will and Trust are imperative for carrying out your
The entire purpose of creating a Will or Trust is to tell people exactly what you want done with
your assets. Essentially, you want people to fulfill your wishes – regardless of how you felt
about them or how they felt about you.
The Common Issue: Ambiguous Statements
The common reason for Wills and Trusts not being carried out the way a person intended is
from ambiguous statements. For example, you use the phrase “I leave all of my personal
property to ___”. The issue is not the person you are leaving the property to, it is the use of
“personal property”. What is your personal property? There are several interpretations by the
Property only owned by you
Property in your name
Property means real estate only
If you do not specify your property down to the last candlestick, the courts will have to
determine what you meant.
Quick Steps to Start Preserving Digital Assets
Today we are in the digital age. Though you might not be ready to sit down with an estate
planning attorney and hash out your Will, you can start taking these quick steps to preserve
your digital assets for when the time comes.
Make a List
List all of your digital assets, preferably by category, including:
Social Media Accounts
Online Storage Accounts
Create Your Wishes
Write down what you want to happen to each digital asset. This can include archiving, creating
an auto-response, forwarding, or memorializing a social media account.
Chose the Beneficiary
Name a person that you know will respect your digital assets and select them as the beneficiary
of those assets. This person will be in charge of carrying out all wishes you create for those
When you set up your Will and Trust, you will have to provide access information to the
beneficiary so that they can actually access your digital assets. That means you will have to sit
down and rewrite any login credentials, including security passkeys, passwords, usernames and
security questions to those accounts so that the beneficiary can access them.