One of the many reasons people might forgo estate planning is that they do not have any children or other obvious heirs to consider. While this might make people less motivated to plan the future of their estates, estate planning is still important for those without children. The assets accumulated over a lifetime may be able to have a significant impact if put to work in a thoughtful way. Here are some tips for child-free individuals and couples to consider when it comes to estate planning.
- Make drafting a will a priority. A will is critical for all people, especially those without clear beneficiaries. Married couples should be sure to outline where assets should go if they both pass away around the same time.
- Select a power of attorney. This is another step often overlooked by married couples, who assume the spouse will be able to act as a caretaker if needed. This is not always the case, as both spouses could become incapacitated at the same time. Finding someone else to act as a POA can provide peace of mind and ensure a plan is in place should anything happen.
- Make sure beneficiary designations on accounts and policies align with the will. Often, people name beneficiaries on their life insurance policies and retirement accounts. It’s important to make sure this designation matches the owner’s intention, as it will override the instructions in a will.
- Effectively structure charitable donations. Many individuals and couples without children leave most or all of their assets to favorite charities. When leaving a large sum to charity, it is important to structure the estate in a way that maximizes the impact of the contribution. A charitable trust is one common way to approach this.
Overall, there are many things that people without children or obvious heirs should consider when it comes to estate planning. Even those with a spouse should consider potential scenarios where the spouse is not able to provide care or take on assets after they pass away. A conversation with a Florida attorney is a great place to start when it comes to this process.