Estate planning for those who do not have children

According to the 2016 Rocket Lawyer study, 64 percent of Americans do not have at least a will in place. This is a rather large group of people who are leaving their assets unprotected should they pass on, whether expectedly or unexpectedly. Why do so many people in Michigan and elsewhere fail to complete the estate planning process? For some, the answer is that they do not have children so they do not feel it is necessary.

The truth of the matter is, one does not need to have children to have an estate plan. Those who do not generally want to make sure that their assets are used for good after they are gone. That will likely not happen, though, if one does not have a will or other estate planning documents completed.

Dying intestate, which is what it is called when one dies without having a will, means that the future of one's estate will be decided by a judge. While there are those who may not care if this happens, it is pretty safe to say that most people would rather have a say in where their assets go after their deaths. But to whom should one's estate be distributed if one does not have children or any other heirs? A charity may make sense, perhaps, or any other cause that one deems worthy. It really is a personal decision, but there are options out there.

Choosing to forgo estate planning simply because one does not have children only means giving up one's voice. Taxes on one's estate will also likely be outrageous since legal protections were not put in place before one's death. Michigan residents can ensure that their assets are protected and make sure that they have a say in to whom their estates will benefit by seeking assistance from an experienced attorney and completing the estate planning documents that they need.

Source: CNBC, "Planning your estate when you've got no children or heirs", Sarah O'Brien, May 31, 2017