More and more people all over the world are making the decision to stay childfree. They make this decision based on a variety of factors. Some don’t feel as if they could afford children. Some have other passions that fill their lives besides children. Others worry that they wouldn’t be good parents, thanks to the childhood they had. Whatever your reasoning was not to have children, you’re not alone.
However, for many people, this raises an interesting question: who do I leave this legacy behind to, if not someone I gave birth to? Pretty much everyone who decided not to have children eventually has to face this conundrum and it is, no doubt, daunting. Some people in the past without children have left vast sums of money to charities or efforts they care about. For example, the famous Cecil H. Green of Texas Instruments left everything to medical and educational institutions. If you don’t have offspring, you can still leave a legacy behind that ensures people will at least remember you as someone who believed in something if nothing else. There’s a variety of ways of going about establishing an estate plan when you have no obvious individuals to pass your wealth and work on to. Check it out.
First, Consider Power of Attorney
If you’re not leaving anyone behind who’s of your bloodline, you might not have many obvious choices for people you would grant medical power of attorney to. This person, however, does not have to be your child. You can appoint a very close family friend or a distant family member as your power of attorney in your estate plan. It’s important, however, that you have someone selected to ensure your eldercare wishes are fulfilled, your financial situation is taken care of and more after you are no longer able to care for yourself in the same way. This person might benefit from your will, and they might not. That’s up to you, but please ensure that you have someone appointed who will take care of you as you continue to age.
Just because you don’t have children doesn’t mean you don’t have people in your life that you’d like to pass your estate along to. Not every childless person needs to grant the entire worth of their estate to a charity to be considered a good person. If you have someone much younger than you who has proved to be an important and valuable individual in your life, pass your estate along to them. Just because you don’t have children doesn’t mean you won’t have people who mean something to you who could survive you.
If you’re interested in it, and you don’t have many people in mind that you’d give your estate to otherwise, you can always start looking into granting charities with the fuel they need to keep doing their work. If you don’t know yet, there’s a 503(c) for just about everything out there. You could spread your budget thin and have 20% of your estate go to five different charities, or you could narrow it down and only select a few. If you’re at a loss on where to start, look up some local charities near you. There are organizations that help get underprivileged kids books to read and food to eat, there are organizations that help fund cancer research, and there are even organizations that help aspiring artists. Whatever your passions are, you can likely find a charity that closely matches your own values and you can gift them money from your estate now, or you can put them into your will for a future donation when you pass away.
Assets Can Be More Than Money
Remember, assets can be much more than just money, though. Pets can be considered assets, jewelry, websites, photo albums, and real estate are all assets as well. Those sorts of estate assets, as you may have guessed are much harder to pass on to a charity than just plain cash is. If you’re wondering where to donate things like this, you can always turn to would-be beneficiaries and even those you’re granting medical power of attorney to. For example, you may not write them into the will to give them any money, but you may pass all of your physical possessions of value, like heirlooms, pets, and jewelry on to them instead. This is a great way to portion out your estate without worrying that your very expensive diamond ring might end up in a jewelry case at the Goodwill because someone doesn’t know what they’re looking at.
Put it in Writing
Whatever you decide to do with your estate, you’ll need to put it in writing. If you don’t have anyone assigned as your medical power of attorney, and if you don’t have anyone as a beneficiary of your estate. That money and those privileges often go to a court selected individual who likely won’t be the person you would have chosen. Regardless of how your worldly possessions end up, whether or not you have a good end of life treatment is entirely up to how you set up your estate plan. In your estate plan, you’ll need to detail very directly what your expectations and wishes are for all of your assets and your elder plan. This is more crucial for people who don’t have children or a clear beneficiary than it is for those who have them. In the event that someone with children does not make these needed preparations, it’s likely someone from the family will be elected by the court to handle those responsibilities, in the event that no natural family is left it’s all rather unpredictable how the courts will weigh in on the distribution of your wealth and your elder care wishes.
Create Your Estate Plan With Goldberg & Associates Now
With the help of Goldberg & Associates, you can create an air-tight estate plan that includes your final will and testament, your elder plan and so much more to ensure that, even though you won’t have any children by your side, you’ll have the law and others on your side when you pass. Be sure your wishes are followed to the T by creating a binding contract with the help of our experienced attorneys. We can assist you with choosing charities, a beneficiary, and getting your estate plan in order so that you can feel prepared for the future. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment and discuss your estate plan options and desires moving forward.