Estate Planning Tips for the Childfree
Families come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The typical family structure with two parents, two children, and a white picket fence has undoubtedly evolved in the last 30 years. So, how does estate planning differ for different family structures? Specifically, the growing childfree population.
Individual needs are not the same as those of the conventional family system, and these realities must not be disregarded. This blog will look at several aspects of estate planning that the childfree population should not overlook.
What is healthcare planning? Powers of attorney? Do I need it?
Establishing a health care directive and a financial power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to manage your medical and financial affairs in the case of your incapacity. Important medical decision making and meeting your financial obligations are taken care of through these important legal documents. Health care advance directives include health care power of attorney, living wills, and HIPAA authorization. These elements appoint an agent to manage health care decisions, specify end-of-life desires, and designate who can receive medical information on your behalf. Financial powers of attorney define the scope and timeline of authority over financial transactions, claims, and gifts.
How can I support my spouse or partner?
If one person dies or becomes disabled without a will or trust, the remaining partner may be left without legal or financial support. Wills, trusts, and powers of attorney are all instruments that can be used to safeguard a partner if something happens to you. Some forethought can offer appropriate protection while avoiding the probate process and preserving privacy outside of public records. Estate planning is particularly important if a couple is truly partnered, i.e. not married. There are no safety nets in Virginia law for unmarried, partnered couples in the event one of them is incapacitated or dies, even if their relationship is many decades long.
What if I’m interested in helping others through my plan?
People who do not have children may be less concerned about preserving wealth for future generations. However, they may still desire to give assets to friends, family members, or charities. An estate plan assists you in making these gifts in the most effective manner possible, indicating who will receive what and when. Without an estate plan, those decisions will be made by the state.
What happens to my pets when I die? Can I include them in an estate plan?
Pets are family members as well and knowing that they will be cared for while you’re no longer here can provide you with peace of mind. One vital step is to specifically name someone to take possession and care for the pet, but another option to consider is to set aside money in a trust for your fur baby (or feathery or scaley) and their care.
In conclusion, what is meant by “family” is much broader than what it used to be. Some people who do not have children may assume that estate planning is unnecessary. This group frequently believes estate planning is only for the wealthy and those passing wealth down through generations. Others may become worried about creating an estate plan and see it as a difficult task they can put off. Everyone requires an estate plan to make their wishes known. Regardless of who you include in your definition of family, a well-thought-out estate plan affects your legacy long after you’re gone.
Interested in learning more? We’ve got you covered
With so many intricacies to consider, estate planning may appear intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. We invite you to attend one of Promise Law’s free estate planning workshops. We will go over all the many components of estate planning and help you understand how to avoid common pitfalls. These workshops provide a great foundation of information that everyone needs to make sound planning decisions. Moreover, if you attend a workshop, you also get a complimentary one-on-one consultation with one of our attorneys.