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Why childless couples should not ignore estate planning

There is a common misconception that estate planning is only necessary for those who wish to preserve their assets for future generations. While protecting their wealth for heirs may not be a priority for couples without children, they can still benefit from estate planning in many ways.

Couples without children have specific needs when it comes to estate planning and wealth management. For example, married couples should consider what will happen to their assets when they pass away. While they tend to have more financial flexibility than families with children, starting their planning early can help avoid complications and unintended consequences in the future.

Some of the key elements of a basic estate plan are a revocable trust, will, Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directive. The latter two are essential tools for naming individuals who will have the authority to make financial decisions and health care decisions, respectively, in the event of incapacity.

A Gallup survey from 2016 revealed that around 56 percent of Americans do not have a will, a worrying trend. Without a will, one has no control over how their assets will be distributed. State laws decide who will inherit them.

A well-crafted estate plan serves to realize a couple’s charitable wishes, financial goals and long-term care preferences, while helping to prevent exploitation. For example, there are special tax considerations for those who wish to leave their money to charity. Creating a charitable trust instead of making an outright gift can help save on estate taxes.

Establishing an estate plan early on is invaluable for both childless couples and families. An experienced estate planning attorney can help plan for a secure future in the best possible way according to one’s wishes.