Between 1980 and 2010, the number of women over the age of 40 who opted to forego motherhood doubled from 10 percent to 20 percent. That trend is expected to continue. The reasons for remaining childless are as varied as the men and women who have chosen to skip parenthood. Many are involved in their careers, others may have married and divorced early on and have no desire for domestic life and others say they worry about the future and what it might look like twenty years from now. Still, there are long-term planning objectives that are as important for childless men and women as they are for parents. Estate planning as a whole should remain a priority.
Estate planning is far more than creating a will; it’s about ensuring your financial bases are covered through every aspect of life. Not only that, but there are healthcare considerations, taxes, insurance, creditors, and other legal considerations.
Don’t underestimate the importance of powers of attorney. Who do you trust to make medical decisions if you are unable to speak for yourself? Who pays your bills if you’re in the hospital? Who ensures the mortgage is paid and the utilities are covered? A financial power of attorney as well as a healthcare proxy are vital.
- Bought a home?
- Saved for retirement?
- Invested in stocks?
- Opened your own business?
- Maybe you’ve won the lottery?
These are all assets that are part of your overall estate plan and unless you want the state to determine what happens to those assets, it’s important to cover those bases with properly prepared legal documents.
Your nieces and nephews could benefit from your years of hard work. A trust is a great way to help them as they begin their lives. Whether you set money aside for college or a down payment on their first home, you could make a difference in their lives as they transition into adulthood.
Speaking of making a difference, don’t overlook the importance of charitable giving. This is a great way to give back to your community and regardless of which charity benefits from your generosity, you can be sure you’re leaving the legacy you envision.
Don’t forget to set up a pet trust, if appropriate. These are simple documents that allow you to express your wishes for your furry family members while also financially providing for their care. We love our dogs and cats and we want to be sure they’re cared for and loved if we are unable to do so or are no longer here.
Many Americans may choose to remain childfree, but that makes the need for a strong financial and estate plan all the more important. A qualified estate planning attorney can assist you with putting your legacy in place. Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.
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