Most estate-planning discussions revolve around passing on wealth from parents to children. But as CNBC reports, U.S. Census data suggests that at least 11 percent of American aged 55 and above are child-free. Without kids to inherit your assets, is estate planning still helpful?
The answer is yes. Regardless of how many children they have, every adult in Erie County would benefit from a customized estate plan. That is because estate planning does more than declare who will inherit assets like your house, bank accounts and retirement savings when you pass away.
Support in your senior years
For example, even if you are relatively young and healthy right now, there will likely come a time when you will need help taking care of yourself. Children often help their aging parents and might even provide them with a home. But without kids to help support you in your golden years, you will need a different plan. Your estate plan can help you plan for paying for long-term care.
Medical care the way you want
You can also take advantage of estate planning tools like the advance healthcare directive and powers of attorney. An advance healthcare directive lets you control what extent of life-saving medical intervention you would want in various emergency situations. Your medical power of attorney will use this document to ensure doctors carry out your wishes, even if you cannot communicate with them yourself. By choosing who would serve as your power of attorney, you can be assured that someone you trust will handle this important job.
Choosing your heirs
Finally, you can leave your estate to whoever you choose. You can name other family members, friends, favorite charitable causes or a combination of all three as your heirs or beneficiaries to your trust. Without a valid will, Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws would dictate who inherits your assets. Your money and other valuables could go to individuals other than those you would have chosen.