How to Plan When You Don’t Have Heirs

Even if you don’t have children or clear heirs, it’s essential to have an estate plan. Not sure about where to start? Here are several details to consider regardless of your financial or family situation.
Create a last will and testament.
Without a will, the state will determine what happens to your assets, which may not always correspond with your wishes. Even if you don’t have any children or grandchildren, think of other people or organizations you’d like to see benefit from your lifetime of hard work.

Set up powers of attorney.
Choose who you’d like to handle your financial and medical decisions should you become unable to make them yourself. Above all, this should be someone you trust who is willing to make critical choices on your behalf.

Determine an executive for your estate.
As this person will be handling duties ranging from paying your debts to filing a will with the court, it’s important to find someone who can handle the responsibility. If choosing someone is difficult, explore the option of naming your bank as an executor or set up a legal trust.

Choose your beneficiaries.
Take inventory of your physical assets and start thinking about where you’d like them to go. Make sure to update primary and secondary beneficiaries on financial accounts too, such as your 401(k) plans and life insurance policies.

Make a charitable distribution.
Consider leaving an outright donation to a favorite charity or set up a foundation of your own based on your passions and interests. You can also create a charitable trust with guidelines on how to distribute the funds over time.

Thoughtful estate planning is worth the effort, no matter what your relationship status may be. Please reach out with any questions you have.

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