Couples without children may not see the importance of creating an estate plan. If they don’t have to ensure the wellbeing and care of children, then it’s not a priority, right? Wrong. Everyone should have an estate plan if they want to have a say in what happens to their assets. Our wills lawyer in Cary NC is here to explain why.
Estate Planning for Childless Couples | Wills Lawyer in Cary NC
A childless couple needs to make sure the surviving spouse and maybe even pets are cared for should one of them pass away. The couple may have nieces, nephews or special friends that they want to be heirs, but unless they designate it in a will, they will have no say.
When someone does not have a will, the court decides where everything goes according to state guidelines. Generally the next of kin is contacted, which could be someone that person would not have wanted. If no one is found, then the assets could end up going to the state.
A couple, regardless of if they have children or not, should have a plan so that they can make the decisions regarding what happens to their estate. If something were to happen to both of them, then guidelines would be outlined to ensure their wishes are carried out.
An estate plan includes a will, which will allow a couple to outline where assets should go if one or both of them die. It will also allow them to name an executor of the estate, which is a person who will handle all financial affairs, settle the estate and see that everything is carried out according to the couple’s wishes. Many times this is one of the adult children, but a childless couple will have to name another trusted adult to be the executor.
Having an estate plan with instructions who can be power of attorney is also important in the case that something happens to both people in the relationship. If both were incapacitated, who would make financial and medical decisions? In many cases, it would be adult children, but if there are none, the state could appoint next of kin or a stranger.
A power of attorney for finances would take care of bills, payments, taxes and any businesses owned by the person who is incapacitated until that person is able to do so again. If a couple of both not able to make decisions, then having a trusted person taking care of things can ensure that finances will be in order when one or both of them are able to make decisions again.
The same applies when a couple needs someone to make medical decisions on their behalf. Generally it is the spouse or children, but if both people in the relationship are unable to make decisions, and there are no children, decisions could fall into the hands of someone the couple would not have chosen. There can also be provisions that name someone once the second person in the relationship becomes incapable of making decisions, which could be due to age.
If a couple has pets that they want to be sure are taken care of when they are gone, they can outline caregivers and even provide funds with a trust for the new owner to use. If they do not designate someone to take care of their pets, their “fur babies” could end up in a shelter.
Contact our wills lawyer in Cary NC for help with any and all estate planning. We are here to ensure you have everything in place and ready, should you need it in an untimely manner.