Professional Insight: Children or No, You Need an Estate Plan

Professional Insight: Children or No, You Need an Estate Plan

It isn’t uncommon for young individuals – and older adults, too – to neglect the preparation of a comprehensive estate plan because they have no direct heirs.

This suggests something of a cognitive blockage, because everyone, married or single, with children or without, requires an estate plan.

The matter is simple enough: if you should die without an estate plan, the state will decide who gets your assets. A judge – that is, a stranger – will make the determination. There’s no telling what could happen or how much disappointment could result among beloved friends and relatives.

The first thing you need is a healthcare directive and a durable power of attorney. These will assign responsibility to parties who can handle your affairs should you become incapacitated. Many people assume that a spouse can take over this duty, but certain legal matters are outside even their purview without the right legal documentation. It nearly goes without saying that single people are particularly vulnerable and need to complete this process with alacrity.

Placing your assets in a trust is an effective solution. This avoids the problems associated with a simple will, to say nothing of dying without a will at all. Assets held in a trust avoid probate court and their disbursement is private, an important consideration for some recipients.

If you choose to establish a trust, you can designate yourself as trustee and manage the assets during your lifetime. Since the latter is finite, you’ll need to choose a successor trustee to handle things once you’ve gone. Many people select a trusted friend or relative, but it’s also possible – and frequently wise – to engage professional services, either an individual or a company that specializes in trust management.  

For more information, please read:
No Children? Why You Still Need an Estate Plan | Kiplinger


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