Not all adults walk the same path in life and more and more of the growing generations are choosing to not have children and instead committing to a child-free lifestyle. Deciding not to have children may come with a sense that with no heirs to leave your wealth after your death, that you don’t need to have a plan for what happens to your estate, but estate planning for child-free couples is even more important as you don’t have obvious heirs to your wealth.
If you are a child-free adult and/or in a child-free marriage or partnership, you may think you don’t need a detailed estate plan, but you will still want to plan for how your assets will be dispersed in the event of your death or how your healthcare choices will be made in case of an accident in which you can’t make decisions for yourself.
While your wealth may not be left to your own children, you may have family members, friends, or charitable organizations that you may want to leave your assets to. Not having a proper estate plan means that your estate will be dragged through the probate process and it may be even harder for potential beneficiaries to prove they should acquire your assets since they are not direct heirs.
What Child-Free Individuals and Couples Need in Their Estate Plan
Will or Trust– Without children you don’t have natural heirs to inherit your estate and without a will or a trust you may potentially be disinheriting your spouse or other family members. Depending on the amount of wealth you accumulate, setting up a trust will protect your assets from going through probate where your state’s system would decide where your assets go.
Power of Attorney– Having a power of attorney for both your financial matters and your healthcare decisions is something everyone needs regardless of having children or not. If an accident happens and you become incapacitated, you will want to have a plan as to who will be taking care of your finances and who will be your advocate for your medical decisions.
Naming Your Executor and Beneficiaries– Choosing the person who will be legally responsible for handling your estate after your passing will be an important choice. Make sure this is someone you trust and who has the capacity to handle the responsibilities. Your beneficiaries will also be named in your estate plan, whether they be individuals, charities, or other organizations that you feel inclined to leave your wealth.
We all spend our lives building a legacy, and each person’s legacy will be different from the next. But the bottom line is that we all need to have a plan for what happens to our legacy once we are gone. Having children or not, a solid estate plan for all the things you’ve worked so hard for is the best way to protect your legacy.
We can guide you through planning your estate based on what’s right for your life. Contact us today and let us help.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.