Do child-free, married couples need an estate plan?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Estate Planning

An estate plan is one of the most important legal considerations that you must prepare in your lifetime. While parenting might not be part of your plans, child-free couples like you would still benefit from planning out how you want to secure your legacy and distribute your assets.

As a child-free couple, you might have unique goals when it comes to estate planning. This could include providing care for your aging parents, supporting charitable causes, ensuring care for your pets or leaving gifts for your close friends and relatives. Estate planning guarantees that your loved ones receive the care and benefits you intend to give them after your passing.

Designate a power of attorney

It is crucial to designate a representative who will make financial decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so yourself. While most couples assign each other as their power of attorney, you can also designate an alternate who will take on the role if you and your spouse become incapacitated.

While a power of attorney focuses on financial matters, you can designate the same or another person to serve as your health care proxy. Your health care proxy is responsible for medical decisions, especially for emergencies and end-of-life situations.

Write a will

Your will reflects how you want to distribute your assets upon your passing. If you do not have a child, you could give your assets to your chosen relatives and friends. You can also include instructions for the care of your aging parents if they outlive you. Many child-free couples have pets that they love like their own children. If you have pets, you can designate someone who will care for them when you are gone.

When you die without a will, the court will distribute your assets according to state laws. Your assets would probably go to your nearest kin when you have no children. Unfortunately, the court could not distribute assets to nonfamily members. Writing a will could prevent complications in the probate process and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Donate to charity

Child-free couples like you often have the capacity to leave a lasting impact by giving to charity. You can establish a trust fund that will allow you to contribute to your chosen charity for a certain period, even after you pass. Supporting your favorite cause, establishing a scholarship and donating to your beloved charity would be a meaningful way of leaving a legacy.

Seek professional guidance

Estate planning is essential for everyone – single, married, with children or none. It has legal and financial implications, not just for you but also for your loved ones. Even for child-free couples, estate planning could be complicated. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney could provide valuable support and peace of mind, knowing that your wishes will be respected.