The Wall Street Journal recently had an article entitled “Estate Planning for Childless Couples” that emphasizes the importance of different estate planning tools for your personal situation. I often tell people who do not have children that estate planning may have even more important repercussions for them than people with children because if you die without a will, the State of California decides who will inherit your estate through intestacy laws.
If you die without a will, you are said to have died “intestate.” The Probate Code sets forth who would receive your estate. If you die without a will only family members will be able to inherit (even long lost ones). Therefore, it is sometimes more important for persons without children to have an estate plan.
The Wall Street Journal article highlights why having a plan is important particularly if you want to leave your estate to close friends or a charity. Both categories would not receive anything if you die without a will. It would also be important to create a revocable living trust for the same reasons anyone should – namely to avoid probate.
It is also very important for childless couples to address a power of attorney and advanced healthcare directive because without one, decisions that need to be made if you are incapacitated will most likely be left to strangers.
For these reasons a couple that does not have any children should address all of these issues in their estate plan. Attorney Anthony Marinaccio can properly advise you for your particular situation if you have any questions or concerns. Please contact him at (818) 839-5220.