Why You Must Have an Estate Plan in Place, Even If You Do Not Have Children
It is very important to note that, even if you do not have children, it is crucial that you have an estate plan in place—not only so that your assets do not pass to individuals you’d rather they not—but so that you do not find yourself in trouble, without assistance, should you become incapacitated. We discuss some of these concerns in greater detail.
Protecting Yourself in the Event Of Incapacitation
First and foremost, every individual should have a durable power of attorney and health care proxy in place, at a minimum. Without these basic documents in place, even your spouse will not be able to handle all of the important legal and medical decisions on your behalf. Without them, your closest relatives could end up in court to establish a guardianship, and have to choose someone to be in charge of your health and legal matters, should you become incapacitated.
What a Trust & Will Can Do For You
A trust is another legal document you will want to consider if you want to pass your assets, privately, onto whomever you want, directly, without them first having to go through probate. A trust is also sometimes appealing to a number of individuals and couples who do not have children and who want to leave their assets to their favorite charity.
Trusts are not necessarily for everyone. Even if you have a trust, you should also have a will to pass on assets which have nort bee placed in the trust. Without having a will in place, your assets will be passed based on what are known as intestacy laws, which may include passing assets to relatives you may not even know. As part of the probate process, the courts require that notice be provided to all of your closest living relatives and allow them to intercede, obtain more information about those assets, etc. State laws typically designate that inheritance be passed onto your spouse or children if there is no will in place, but beyond this step, things can get complicated, and assets can go to unintended beneficiaries unless you communicate what you want via an estate plan.
If you do decide to establish a trust, you will also need to appoint someone to be in charge of it—someone who you trust and who is responsible and organized. Keep in mind that this does not have to be a friend or relative, but it can, instead, be a hired professional.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Estate Planning Attorneys to Find Out More
Do not take risks when it comes to taking care of both yourself and your loved ones, regardless of whether or not you have children. Contact our experienced Florida estate planning attorneys at Suncoast Civil Law today to find out about our services and how we can help.