Childless couples are becoming increasingly common today. These couples have unique considerations to make when planning their estates. If you and your partner count yourselves among them, creating an estate plan can seem complicated but, nevertheless, it is critical in the absence of obvious heirs.
Whether assets are left to another family member, a friend, a charity or another beneficiary, the important part is that you and your partner are the ones to make these decisions. Creating a will expresses your wishes and ensures that they will be followed.
You can leave your assets to a charity or other organization, such as your church or alma mater, by setting up a trust. You may also create a trust to leave money for the care of your pet and name the person who will take them in your will. Doing this will ensure that your pet receives the best care and lets you decide where and how they will get it. Another critical consideration to make is who will make decisions on your behalf should you and your spouse become unable to make them yourselves. Designating a trusted friend or loved one as this person is done through a power of attorney for legal and financial decisions, and a medical by proxy for medical decisions. These designations can be given to one person or different people.
Power of attorney can be as specific as you wish, like real estate or investments. It is important to make your wishes known to avoid a court or other individual making them for you.If you and your spouse have retirement accounts or life insurance policies, you must be sure that your beneficiaries are current. This is a commonly overlooked estate issue, as the distribution of these funds will not be determined by your will. Be sure that the beneficiary named in the policy is the person to whom you want to leave those assets.
If you are childless, there are many estate decisions to make to protect your legacy. Speaking to an attorney or another estate professional will help you determine which considerations to make and how to make them.
At the New York estate planning law firm, Littman Krooks, LLP, we have over 30 years of experience helping families effectively plan for their financial future. To learn more about how our dedicated team of attorneys can assist your family with its unique needs, call 914-684-1200 to contact us.
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