Estate Planning When You Have No Kids

Andrew Russell CFP was recently interviewed by Beth Pinsker of Reuters News on the subject of estate planning for the young, rich and childless (click to read the full article).

Estate planning is not just for older people with children and wealth.  Everyone can benefit from taking a few simple steps to ensure they have a basic estate plan in place.  What should you consider in a basic estate plan?

  • Simple Will– A Will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children. 

  • Healthcare Directive– A health care directive is a written document that informs other of your wishes about your health care. It allows you to name a person (“agent”) to decide for you if you are incapacitated. 

  • Financial Power or Attorney– A financial power of attorney (POA) is a legal document an individual can use to appoint someone to act on his or her behalf regarding personal, financial and business matters.

  • Updated Beneficiary Designation– Retirement accounts (IRA, Roth, 401k, etc), life insurance policies and some bank accounts (TOD, transfer on death) all have their own transfer mechanism.  These assets pass directly to the named beneficiary without going through probate. 

  All of these documents can be found online.  However, use caution when using online forms as estate planning can be very state specific.  It would be wise to consult with an estate planning attorney from your home state who could provide a solution for your unique situation.