No heirs does not mean you should not estate plan.
Do you have no children?
Did you survive your spouse?
Do you believe estate planning is pointless for you?
It is not.
According to a recent CNBC article titled “Planning your estate when you've got no children or heirs,” there are still some key things you need to consider.
Do not be like them.
When they die, the state decided who gets their estate.
You could easily make the decision to leave your assets to a favorite charitable organization.
This way, you are leaving a lasting legacy.
You will also need to consider a medical power of attorney.
What does this do?
It allows the person you designate to make your healthcare decisions should you become incapacitated.
Since you have no family members, this should be someone you trust you to carry out your wishes.
A living will would also be important in your situation.
You can give specific instructions regarding life support and other care if you have a terminal illness or severe accident.
Your healthcare agent will also have your guidance to take the pressure off making decisions in accordance with your desires.
What about your finances?
You can designate an agent through a durable power of attorney so this trusted individual can handle your finances.
You do not have to designate the same individual for your medical decisions and your financial choices.
When you die, who will execute your estate?
You should select someone who is both trustworthy and capable.
Does no individual come to mind?
Your bank may have a trust division to handle this.
You could also set up a trust rather than a will.
Even when you have your will signed, you are not done.
Some assets do not pass through a will.
Look at the beneficiary designations on your 401(k) plan or life insurance policy.
No heir is no excuse.
You still need to get your affairs in order.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a plan for your goals and your situation.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: CNBC (May 31. 2017) “Planning your estate when you've got no children or heirs”