Many people have the misconception that estate planning documents are only important if they have kids. That way, they can fairly, or according to their preferences, distribute their assets to their spouse and children. But here’s what a lot of people don’t know: it’s even more important to have estate planning documents if a person doesn’t have kids!
Why are Estate Planning Documents More Important if a Person Doesn’t Have Kids?
Without a will or any other form of estate planning documents, the default rules, i.e. those outlined in intestacy statutes, will apply. Under the statutes, the assets of a person who dies intestate will go to the people who are set forth by law.
For married individuals, the assets will go to the spouse. If they have children, the assets need to be divided to the kids as well. The default rules have the priority to divide everything the deceased owns to these people.
If the deceased died intestate and doesn’t have any kids, the statute dictates that the assets go to the extended family, including siblings, parents, grandparents, and even aunts and uncles. This is disadvantageous for the following reasons:
No control on the part of the deceased, i.e. the owner of the assets
The intestacy statutes will completely control who gets what, without taking into consideration the preferences of the deceased, considering that there is no will to determine this in the first place.
The law-appointed executor may not be trusted by the deceased
Without a will or other estate plans, the law also has the authority to determine who’s in charge of the assets. The court may appoint the deceased’s siblings or other extended family members. The problem here is that the deceased may not trust the executor recommended by intestacy statutes and appointed by the court.
Avoid These Issues Without an Estate Planning Document!
Without a will or intestacy statutes, the default rules will apply — and depending on a person’s unique situation, these may not be desirable for them, their assets, or their beneficiaries. But there’s nothing that can be done about it after death, especially if a person dies intestate.
That’s why it’s very important that a person plans their estate and controls to whom they want their assets to go to and who should take charge of dividing the assets and executing the will. That way, they have more control over how their properties are given and to whom.
It’s also worth noting that people should engage the assistance of an estate planning attorney to ensure that everything is well setup and valid. Otherwise, there is no way of knowing if the provisions of an estate planning document are effective or not, which risks serious problems and headaches at the time of execution.