Are estate plans different when no kids are involved?

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

Like the old saying goes, nothing in life is guaranteed, except death and taxes, which is why we consistently recommend that our readers get an estate plan done. An estate plan touches on both death and taxes and ensures that one’s wishes are followed after their death. And, while some may think that not having children means an estate plan is not needed, this simply is not the case. So, this begs the question, what is the difference?

No kid planning

Of course, the biggest difference is there is no child planning, which means no guardianship questions, portioning out items for children, etc. But, this still means that couples will need to plan for their second level of beneficiaries, i.e., those people other than one’s spouse. Of course, plan for simultaneous death, but realize that the chances of that happening are highly unlikely. This is why the first step is putting together a secondary beneficiary list.

Keep the secondary beneficiary list the same

The secondary beneficiary list for both spouses should be the same to avoid competing wills. This will also ensure that the deceased spouse’s wishes will be followed because, if not, it is likely that only the surviving spouse’s beneficiaries will be honored.

Use a revocable living trust

If one’s secondary beneficiary list differs from their spouses or they want to ensure that their wishes are followed if they pass away first, use a revocable living trust. Through this type of trust, the underlying assets are protected for one’s specified named beneficiaries, but the profits and earnings from them can still be used by the surviving spouse.

No kids does not mean easier

As our Hanford, California, readers can see, not having children really does not make an estate plan less complicated, it only takes out the child-related items. This is why those looking to do an estate plan work with a Central Valley estate planning attorney.

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