While many individuals or couples without children may think that estate planning does not apply to them, it is important for everyone to create an estate plan to ensure your assets will be distributed in the way you desire. Here, the Maryland estate planning attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein explains the importance of creating an estate plan for those who do not have children.
Include a Will in Your Estate Plan
It is imperative to create a last will and testament, even if you do not have children, so that your assets can be distributed according to your wishes. If you pass away without a will, your estate will be distributed according to the Maryland Laws of Intestacy, and the distribution of your assets under the state may not necessarily align with your desires. If you do not have children to whom you can pass down your assets, consider other family members, friends or even charities you could gift your assets to.
Carefully Consider a Power of Attorney
In addition to creating a last will and testament, it is wise to consider appointing a power of attorney to make important financial and health decisions on your behalf. Should you become incapacitated or otherwise incapable of making significant financial or medical decisions for yourself, choosing a trustworthy power of attorney or executor will ensure that your assets will be handled accordingly. Failure to appoint a close family member or friend as your power of attorney could mean that your assets will not be managed in the way you desire and that major decisions will not be made according to your wishes. Ultimately, granting someone close to you the ability to make major life decisions on your behalf is essential when preparing your estate plan.
Think About Beneficiaries
Just because you do not have children does not mean there is nobody in your family who can be named in your estate plan. Other possible beneficiaries include nieces, nephews, cousins and more—even close friends can be included in your last will and testament. Carefully taking inventory of your possessions, property and other valuables and considering which assets should go to which beneficiaries will help simplify the distribution process after your passing.
Donate to Charity
Donating to charity, or setting up a charitable organization, is a popular method of distributing assets. If you have a favorite charity or organization to which you desire to gift some of your assets, consider setting up a financial strategy in order to make this possible. You may even set up a charitable trust fund to be distributed to a charity over a set amount of time. Since there are many factors to account for when leaving money to a charitable organization, such as ensuring the receiving organization does not have to pay significant taxes on your donation, consider preparing your donations with a dedicated estate planning attorney such as Douglas C. Lauenstein.
Assets Aren’t Just Monetary
Remember that assets do not merely include real and personal property—even pets can be left to a beneficiary in an estate plan. Excluding pets from your estate plan can prove problematic after your death, as it can be difficult to decide to whom the pet should go. It is advisable to prepare for your pets in your estate plan to have peace of mind concerning your cherished pet and their care after death.
Speak to Estate Planning Attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein Regarding Estate Planning and Wills
Even if you do not have children to whom you can leave your assets, that does not mean you should not make an estate plan, prepare a last will and testament and choose a power of attorney. Maryland estate planning attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein of Lauenstein Law Firm has years of experience preparing estate plans for clients and can help you prepare your distribution of assets, even if you do not have children. To schedule a consultation, contact estate planning attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein today.