Often times, estate planning is about leaving your assets to your children. But what if you don’t have children? Tacitly assuming that an Estate Plan is unnecessary for you is a bad idea. Many other benefits are achieved through planning.
Estate Planning can be even more crucial to a couple without children. Your spouse may be the obvious decision-maker if you cannot make them yourself. But what if your spouse is not available? A probate court would appoint someone (a.k.a. a guardian of your body and a guardian of your estate) to make health care and financial decisions. The court may have a preference for family members (siblings, nieces & nephews, parents, etc.). This may not be your desire. If you have a close friend or a specific family member you trust above all others, it is important to nominate that person to make those decisions when your spouse cannot.
Another reason to create an Estate Plan is to make sure your spouse is provided for in the event you need long-term care. If one of you needs Long-Term Care, assets you’ve spent your lives acquiring must be spent to provide that care. Proper Long-Term Care planning can dramatically increase the amount of assets your spouse may utilize.
Finally, you need to document your wishes on how your assets are to be distributed. If you die first, your assets will be likely all end up with your spouse’s family, pursuant to Ohio’s laws of intestacy. The state will not assume that you have people in mind you’d like to leave your assets to, nor will it assume that you have certain charities that would benefit greatly from your assets.
If you would like to learn more about Estate Planning and how it may benefit you and your spouse not only when you’ve passed away, but during your lives, please contact an AlerStallings office today to schedule a consultation.