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Estate Planning for Couples Without Children

As the U.S. population becomes more educated and career focused, we are seeing many couples who are opting to forego parenthood so they can focus on their careers or other interests.  It’s important to consider, however, that choosing not to have kids, should not mean that estate planning can be ignored.

Many people assume that estate planning is only needed for securing wealth for their children and grandchildren.  Passing assets down to your descendants can be one part of an estate plan but is not the only benefit.  Preparing your entire estate plan (which includes creating your will, power of attorney and living will, among other documents) will provide many additional financial, charitable and personal benefits as well.

Estate planning can be even more important for people without children because, while parents are usually focused on preserving wealth for their kids, many childless couples will want to distribute their wealth to various family members, charities and friends.  Without an estate plan, the law will decide who will inherit your wealth.  Your estate plan is where you indicate your personal intentions, otherwise your assets will likely not be distributed the way you would have wanted.  If you would like to donate some of your wealth to a charity after you pass away, you may choose to set up a charitable trust as an effective way to save on taxes and ensure your charitable gift is received as intended.

Health care planning is also an important consideration for individuals without children.  It is advised that you create a living will: a document that names a person of your choosing to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so yourself.  If you do not have children, it’s important to consider who your advocate will be should your spouse pass away, become disabled or is otherwise unable to care for you.

Unfortunately, another consideration for couples without children is financial exploitation of the elderly which has emerged as a common problem.  Without children to watch for this kind of elder abuse, creating your financial and long term care plan is invaluable.  This planning can establish the appropriate people (including professionals, family members and friends) to carry out your plan.  Your estate plan can also specify provisions that will help to avoid potential exploitation.  Your experienced estate planning attorney can guide you in creating an estate plan that will protect your from potential financial abuse.

Estate planning offers many benefits to couples without children and will help to manage uncertainty about the future.  Talk to a trusted estate planning attorney in Pittsburgh today to learn more.

We can help you plan for the future.  To discuss your specific needs with one of our estate planning attorneys, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412-254-8533 or contact us online.