Estate planning can be complex, but this is particularly true if you don’t have heirs or a surviving spouse. In that case, you will need to be very specific in your estate plan when describing whom you’d like to have receive your assets. You’ll also have to be cautious when choosing an appropriate health care proxy and power of attorney.
It may not be easy if you don’t have family, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an estate plan (or that you shouldn’t). In fact, it may be even more important for you to have an estate plan, since the court will need further guidance.
Consider your legacy if you have no heirs
If you don’t currently have children or heirs to consider, you may want to think about leaving behind your assets and creating a legacy in other ways. For example, you could establish a foundation that creates scholarships for children who are heading to college. You might opt to create a fund for rescue animals or any other kind of organization that you’re interested in.
One of the great things about setting up a foundation, as an example, is that you can establish it while you’re still living. That means that you’ll get the opportunity to see the fruit of your labors and be able to enjoy your legacy yourself.
Choosing a medical power of attorney may be a tricky task
It can be hard to choose a person to make health care decisions for you if you don’t have anyone you’re closely related to. Think about this carefully, because you do want to have someone who you know will keep your best interests in mind. This can be a friend, colleague or other person who you trust.
Your executor can be a bank
When you need someone to take over as an executor, you might want to consider asking your local bank to take on the role. There is generally a fee for professional executor services, but if you have no one else to take on the role, you’ll, at the very least, know that it will be done right. You do need to document what you want clearly for the bank agent, so you can be assured that they will carry out your wishes.
It can be more difficult to have an established estate plan if you don’t have heirs, but it’s possible, and necessary, to create one.