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Dual Income with No Kids

by Mary Hilger

Four Reasons why you still need an estate plan even if you don’t have children.

Some couples think that, since they don’t have children, their lives are “simple,” and there isn’t a need for an estate plan. However, they could not be further from the truth. Here are four reasons why you need an estate plan, even if you don’t have children:

  1. End of Life Planning

Whether you are married, single, or in a long-term relationship, you need to plan for your end of life decisions. Most married couples assume that since you are married, you will automatically be able to make medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf. Unfortunately, that is incorrect. While most hospitals/health care facilities will allow spouses and next-of-kin access to the patient, you may not be able to make medical decisions on their behalf.

Making sure your wishes are followed through after you have become mentally incapacitated is an essential part of your complete estate plan. If you are not clear with your intentions for your own body, how can you expect your family and loved ones to go through this process smoothly? You need to make sure you have a medical power of attorney and possibly a Living Will to make sure you are clear in what you want to happen to your own body when you are unable to voice your opinion.

  1. Leave behind peace of mind, not a mess

We have many potential clients say that since they don’t have children, that they’re too young, and that they don’t believe they are worth enough to warrant an estate plan. Unfortunately, these are the people we end up seeing leaving the biggest messes for their loved ones after they have passed away. We understand that it can be uncomfortable to discuss your mortality, but if we can help you make sure we create a complete and useful estate plan so that your loved ones are not left with a mess after you’re gone, we think it’s worth it.

Make sure you work with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure you are creating the best plan for you and your loved ones. We understand that each person and couple are unique and that you may need a different plan than everyone around you. If you pass away without an estate plan, your loved ones will have to go through the probate court process, which takes time, money, and energy when they are dealing with a tremendous loss.

  1. Intestate Succession

If you pass away without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed under the laws of Intestate Succession. That means that the state and the court system will determine who your heirs (relatives) are, and how much each heir will receive.

Maybe that isn’t what you want to happen to your assets. Perhaps you have a strained relationship with your family members and would prefer to have friends or charitable organizations benefit from your estate. However, if you fail to create an estate plan, the state will determine where your assets go.

Don’t leave this incredibly personal decision up to the state, meet with an estate planning attorney to make sure you are leaving your assets behind to the ones you love, whether or not that is your family.

  1. Beneficiaries

Many individuals and couples who do not have children fail to name or update the beneficiary designations on assets. If you fail to do this and pass away without an estate plan, your loved ones will be stuck spending time and money going through the court system. Again, don’t leave this incredibly personal decision up to the state, meet with an estate planning attorney to make sure you are leaving your assets behind to the ones you love, whether or not that is your family.

Just because you don’t have children, does not mean you don’t need an estate plan.

Thacker Sleight

grand rapids office  •  616 888 3810
601 5th street nw, suite 210
grand rapids michigan 49504

grand haven office  •  616 888 3810

saugatuck office  •  269 857 9120

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