For people who live in Kansas and Oklahoma and who do not have children, drafting an estate plan is still a necessary step. When it comes to estate planning tools for childless individuals or couples, the same basic principles apply, but you have to approach them in a slightly different way when compared to people who have children. Today, let’s take a look at what estate plans look like for people who do not have children.
You still have to make inheritance choices when you don’t have children.
When an individual or a couple comes to us and tells us they have children, they typically want to ensure that their estate plan protects the inheritances they want to leave for those children. When someone does not have a child, inheritance choices are still very important.
For people without children, it’s most common to decide to leave inheritances to spouses, close family members, friends, charitable organizations, educational institutions, or religious institutions. Yet regardless of your personal desires, you have to make sure that you create inheritance planning tools that will protect your wishes.
Should you fail to make your inheritance choices in a legally recognized manner, the laws of the state in which you live will determine who will inherit your property. Depending on your circumstances this could mean that your property will pass to your spouse, your closest surviving family members, or even to the state in which you reside.
You need to choose representatives.
People with children also typically choose those children to serve as their representatives when they create an estate plan. For example, it’s common to name a child as your medical representatives when you draft an advance medical directive. Children, because they are younger than you, are often better suited to make choices on your behalf as you get older.
When you don’t have a child you have to look elsewhere when choosing your representatives. Younger siblings, close friends, as well as spouses can all serve as representatives under your estate plan. However, you have to be sure that those people will, more likely than not, be capable of serving if and when the time comes for them to take on decision-making responsibilities.
You need to change your plan if you one day have a child.
Many people who don’t have children and who make an estate plan end up having children later on. If you find yourself in this position it’s absolutely essential that you revise your plan after the birth of your child. Additionally, if you have more than one child, updating your plan after each new child is necessary.
Parman & Easterday