Do you ever find that as a person who does not have children that you are often inundated with questions surrounding your future? Questions such as:
We find many of our clients without children are asked questions like these, married or not. While they may feel inappropriate or invasive at times, they do highlight a concern for you, your future, your legacy, and, ultimately, how your estate could be handled at the time of your passing. The key is to keep in mind that estate planning in Florida when you have no children is critical to ensure you are safe at all times.
While having children is not a guarantee in any way that you will be able to protect yourself in a crisis, there is a familial relationship in place that may be easier for others to recognize. Be aware, however, a family relationship does not equal legal decision making and can often lead you into the mistaken belief that you have a decision maker in place. As a person without children, you do need to take steps to plan forward to ensure that there is not only a lifetime decision maker for you, but that you have taken steps to plan your legacy in advance.
If you have no end of life planning in place, such as a last will and testament or a trust agreement, the beneficiary of your estate may be the state of Florida. Almost all of us can agree the state is an undesired beneficiary. When it comes to engaging in estate planning in Florida when you have no children, you need to decide, well in advance, who should inherit from you at the time of your passing. Let us share just a few estate planning tips we share with those we work with in our office:
1. Choose what you want to leave your legacy to. What do you care about? What charities do you support during life? Are there causes or events that you may not be able to support right now but would at the time of your passing? Do not wait to think about who should be the beneficiary of your estate and discuss with your estate planning attorney the right way to create a legacy with them.
2. Decide if there are people to leave a portion of your estate to. Do you have friends, neighbors, or family members who you consider to be like children? Do you want them to inherit from you at your death? When it comes to individuals like these, you need to decide how to leave them a gift from your estate sooner rather than later. Do not leave this type of planning to chance and instead create the estate plan that you need now.
3. Select the right personal representative for you. If you decide to create a last will and testament, you need to understand that not everyone is able to serve as your personal representative. Your estate planning attorney will be able to guide you through which individuals or companies in your life are able to serve in this role. Do not leave this to chance and choose someone who has the legal authority to serve.
There is never a wrong time to consider estate planning in Florida when you do not have children. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to speak with your Florida estate planning attorney to find out how to best manage the probate and administration process when you do not have children and do not hesitate to ask what other options are available to you. Your attorney should be able to advise you on the pros and cons of will-based planning versus trust-based planning. We encourage you to let us answer your questions. Do not wait to contact us to schedule a first appointment in our office.