Estate planning is particularly important for people who have minor children so they can appoint a guardian to care for them in the event of both parents’ death. However, is it really necessary if you do not have children?
Failing to create a will or any type of estate plan may have unintended consequences for you and your loved ones. U.S. News and World Report describes why it is important to have a will even if you do not have children.
It is common for romantic partners to live together without getting married. While the law grants inheritance rights to married spouses, an unmarried partner does not have the right to inherit from you in the event of your death unless you expressly name him or her in your will.
If you are unmarried and have no children, your closest family members are likely to inherit all your property in the event of your death. Your partner could end up with nothing.
If you die without a will, the process of probate could take much longer. The court has to appoint an administrator to handle your estate, who then has to locate all your property and contact your beneficiaries. This can cause a lot of uncertainty and frustration for your loved ones, not to mention extra expense.
In addition to a will, an estate plan typically also includes an advance health care directive or living will that describes what treatment you do and do not want to receive in the event that you are no longer to make decisions for yourself. If you do not want to receive certain life-saving measures, an advance directive lets your doctor and family know. Otherwise, the doctor has an ethical responsibility to do everything possible to keep you alive for as long as possible.