Life takes us all in different directions and we all have different goals. Many think that having an estate plan is only important for those with children or with family that they are planning on  leaving their estate to. While it is important for those people to have an estate plan, it can be even more important for those without any close relatives to have a plan. Whether you have chosen to not have children or perhaps you do not have close family members, estate planning when you have no heirs is critical as you don’t have the obvious beneficiaries that probate courts may typically choose as your heirs if you don’t have an estate plan. 

Why You Need an Estate Plan if You Have No Heirs

With not having obvious heirs to your assets, having an estate plan puts you in charge of deciding where your wealth and belongings will go. Maybe you have a close friend who you would like to leave something to, or have as your Power of Attorney. Without an estate plan there’s no legal way for that person to claim your assets or to be your advocate in case of an emergency. If something were to happen to you, your estate would go through the probate process, leaving these decisions to a judge and someone who doesn’t know what you may have wanted. 

This is also the case for your healthcare decisions. Say you were to get into an accident and become unable to advocate or make decisions for yourself. If you don’t have immediate family that the doctors would typically turn to for medical care decisions, then you need to appoint someone you trust and also legally give that person the right to advocate on your behalf. Your wishes for your medical care should also be listed as part of our estate plan, which will give guidance to the person that you appoint as your advocate. 

Estate Planning Documents You Need if You Have No Heirs

-Will or Trust

-Power of Attorney- both Financial and Healthcare

-Living Will

There are many options for your estate plan and you don’t have to go a traditional route. Maybe you don’t want to leave any assets to a particular person but you have some charitable organizations or other business entities that you want to pass your legacy onto. You get to make the rules when it comes to your estate plan, and it’s especially important to plan if you don’t have obvious heirs to your wealth. 

Need to start your estate plan or need help updating an existing one? Contact us and we will guide you through the process. We offer risk free consultations so we can assess your situation and provide the guidance you need. 

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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.