Often, family, friends, and co-workers will say that they did not consider creating an Estate Plan until they had children, and that the focus of their Estate Planning is to protect their children in the event that they themselves unexpectedly pass away.

Needless to say, Estate Planning for the benefit of one’s children is a smart and natural approach.

However, Estate Planning is by no means something that should be considered exclusively by people with children.

Indeed, individuals and couples without children – especially those with a high net worth – can benefit immeasurably from a well-crafted Estate Plan.

If you have not considered creating an Estate Plan because you have yet to start a family, contact Bashian P.C. and ask how you – and your spouse or partner – will uniquely benefit from our Estate Planning services.

But you would be wrong. Even childless couples need an estate plan.

You’re working hard and making money and building your savings and retirement accounts. Don’t you want to know that when you pass away your hard-earned assets wind up just where you wanted them to go? If you don’t, a New York court will make this determination. Taking care of this now will make sure your estate doesn’t wind up in litigation.

Here are the important things to know as you embark on creating an estate plan.

  1. Write a will. If you die without one, your assets will pass on to your spouse. What if you die together in an accident? Or what if you and your significant other aren’t married? Or if you don’t have a significant other? Remember, without a will, the state will decide who gets your property and other assets. That could be the sister you haven’t spoken to in 10 years instead of the best friend who has been by your side since the first day of kindergarten.
  2. Name a power of attorney. This allows you to choose someone to make decisions for you if you’re unable to handle your affairs. There are different types of powers of attorney, and your estate planning attorney can lay out the options for you.
  3. Verify that your preferred beneficiary is listed on your retirement accounts, bank accounts and life insurance policies. If your beneficiary is still your now-deceased mother, your money will be in limbo.
  4. You have pets. Maybe you don’t have children, but if you have pets, you’ll still want to plan for their future. Designate someone to care for your beloved animals and leave a pet trust behind to pay for their care.
  5. Leave money to charity. You can’t take it with you, so make sure your money and resources are able to make others’ lives easier.

An attorney can help with your overall plan, including charitable trusts, to make sure your money is distributed as intended.