Having kids is not important or desirable for everyone. You and your spouse may identify as “dual income, no kids.” However, estate planning for those with no kids can be different from estate planning for those with kids. It becomes even more important if you do not have children of your own to ensure you have a proper estate plan in place.
Consider a will and trust
If you die without a will or trust, you will be considered “intestate” and the state will have laws that dictate who will inherit your estate. In general, your spouse and children are first in line. But if you do not have children and your spouse predeceases you, your estate could go to further relatives, which may not be of your liking. It is important to have a will and possibly a trust that allows you to choose who you want to inherit your estate, whether it is your spouse, a relative or a friend.
Powers of attorney
Another important aspect of estate planning is power of attorney. A medical power of attorney gives someone the right to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated, for example, if you have dementia or are in a coma. A financial power of attorney gives someone the right to manage your finances in the same circumstances. If you do not designate your preferred individuals to these roles, a court will assign someone who again may not be the person of your choosing.
Update your beneficiaries
If you have life insurance or retirement accounts, it is likely you named your spouse as the primary beneficiary. However, if you do not have children named as secondary beneficiaries or if your spouse predeceases you, you will want to make sure you have a person of your choosing listed as a beneficiary to these important assets.
Not everyone has kids, and that is OK
Having children is not right for everyone, and that is OK. Still, if you are childless, you must make sure your estate plan is solid and set. This way, you can rest comfortably knowing your end-of-life wishes will be met.