If you are single and childless or child-free, you may think that you have no reason to create an estate plan. In truth, estate plans benefit many different kinds of people in different stages of life. Consider estate planning to help relatives, benefit charity, or simply set forth your wishes.
Helping Relatives Through Estate Planning
When you do not have children or a spouse, you can choose to leave your estate to other relatives. Perhaps your parents do not have savings and will need help to have a comfortable retirement. You may have nieces or nephews who could use assistance getting a college education.
By making an estate plan, you can specify who should receive your assets – including cash, real estate, securities, and other valuables. Without a will, your estate will get distributed by default under the intestate succession rules. These rules dictate that the estates of people who are single and childless may go to their parents or more distant relatives that they do not choose. Instead, make a will or create a trust to specifically indicate which relatives should receive certain assets.
Benefitting Charity Through Estate Planning
People without children by choice may want to share their wealth with charitable organizations. Estate planning is a great way to pass on assets to charity in a responsible and effective way. For example, you could make a gift to a charity in your will, set up a charitable trust in favor of an important nonprofit organization, or even create a foundation for longer-term giving. Leaving your estate to charity can have surprisingly beneficial tax consequences, as well as spreading goodwill to organizations in need. An estate planning attorney can help you get started.
Setting Forth Your Wishes for Posterity
Finally, childless or child-free people may want to estate plan to set forth their wishes for posterity. For example, many people have specific thoughts about their funerals and burial situations. In a will or advance directive, you can explain these thoughts and require an executor or agent to carry them out.
An advance directive’s primary purposes are to explain your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care, and to appoint an agent to make medical decisions when you cannot. Many single people may want to sign advance directives because they do not have spouses, who would ordinarily be the default decisionmakers if they were incapacitated.
In sum, there are many different reasons to make an estate plan if you are single and childless or child-free. Look into your options today.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.