In a new post, Fran Hawthorne writes about the importance of estate planning for the increasing number of American adults who have never married and have no children. The article begins as follows:


When Adam Cooperman opened a technology consulting firm in New York City eight years ago at age 33, he also prepared a will and other legal and medical documents. “If I have all these professional matters, I should probably have my personal affairs in order, as well,” he explained.

With no spouse or children, he divided his assets equally between his parents and his brother. Partly because those relatives were 3,000 miles away in California, he gave powers such as his health care proxy, or the right to make medical decisions if he is incapable, to “people that I valued as mentors, advisers and frien” who lived nearby.

Today Mr. Cooperman, still single and childless, has sold his business and is rethinking his estate plan. He might hand the nonfinancial powers, along with his assets, now in the low seven figures, to his relatives.

“I probably named some friends I’m not as close to anymore,” he said. “But family is family.”

For married couples and parents, such estate decisions are usually routine: The surviving partner and offspring get the money and the legal and medical authority.

However, more and more Americans are in a position similar to that of Mr. Cooperman. According to the Pew Research Center, 20 percent of adults age 25 and older in 2012 had never married, up from 9 percent in 1960.

Read the full article from the New York Times here.

Posted by Logan Davis, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.