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What estate plan strategies are useful without kids or heirs?

Not every Texan who is preparing an estate plan has children, a spouse, or other close relatives to whom they would like to leave their assets after they have passed. This is not an infrequent occurrence and there are certain strategies that can be used in such a situation. If the estate is substantial, the testator will need to take certain factors into consideration when deciding how to proceed. It is not just a matter of not having children. Many of these individuals do not have a person they trust to name as the executor if they become incapacitated.

Research indicates that a vast number of people do not have a basic will. One study stated that 64 percent of Americans did not have this done. Failure to have a will - known as dying intestate - means that the state court will determine how the assets are allocated after the person's death. In addition to property, there are other parts of estate planning that must be considered whether the person was unmarried or did not have children.

Family disputes happen with estates, but when there is no family it can still be a complex circumstance. One piece of advice that is given to those who are facing this issue is to consider what charities they believe in and if donation is the best course of action. Depending on their interests, there are numerous different avenues for a person to take when they are confronted with formulating an estate plan and do not have anyone to whom they would like to leave their assets. Some like to begin doling out their assets while they are still alive so they can see it being put to their preferred use.

A health-care proxy and medical powers of attorney are other important issues. These individuals might want to detail their desires in a living will. While this sounds like a problematic matter, it is not unusual. There are several ways in which a person can deal with estate planning when they do not have a spouse, are without children and have no one to whom they want to leave their assets. A legal professional can provide guidance and assistance in such a case.

Source: CNBC, "Planning your estate when you've got no children or heirs," Sarah O'Brien, May 31, 2017

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