Estate Planning Lawyer
For people with children or grandchildren, it may be easy to pass on their assets in an estate. However, for those who are single or do not have any children, knowing what and how to leave assets behind may be a lingering question in their mind.
If you don’t have any children, a spouse, or family, you might be concerned about what your legacy is and how it will continue after you die. The truth is, and even a bit of a silver lining, is that when people with children die, there is only so much control that can be given to the children and what they choose to do with their legacy.
When you’re in a situation where there are no heirs, and you would like to leave your estate to a party other than the state itself, you can feel confident in knowing you do have options. Take for example Cecil H. Green who was the founder of the popular calculator brand Texas Instruments. She had no children and left a majority of her estate to medical and educational institutions. Of course, you may not have excess amounts of wealth, and even in this case, you still have options.
Creating an Estate Plan
One of the first things you should do is to get everything legally documented. This can be done by having an estate planning lawyer draft you a custom estate plan. Without this plan, you cannot be sure what will happen to your legacy. This plan also lets you decide where your assets and money will go. For example, will you leave them to friends, a partner, distant relatives, charities, or institutions. Your estate plan should be taken seriously and include a valid will, power of attorney, and healthcare power of attorney at minimum. Without this plan, the state will decide where all of your assets go. If no relatives can be located, there is a chance everything will go to the state.
Preserving Your Legacy
After you have drafted an estate plan, you might also want to preserve your family history as a part of your legacy. Think about family stories, recipes, or other memorable features of your life. You could write a memoir or letters that share your hopes, life lessons, or values. These writings can be passed onto notable people with the intention of inspiring others. If you own any family heirlooms, consider writing the story of the item and passing it onto a cousin or niece. If there are no blood relatives, a donation to your favorite museum could be a worthy action.
Leaving Assets to a Charity
It is common for childless people to leave their financial wealth to charitable institutions. Others choose to set up their own trusts, foundations, or scholarships to help the future generations. This is a great way to leave behind a legacy that is thought of and acknowledged by others. If this might be an option for you, think about what your passions and values are. Perhaps you love animals and would like to leave your money to various animal welfare foundations. If you are passionate about music and arts, look for charities that are active in this industry. By leaving assets or money to an organization that you feel passionate about, you are doing something that reflect who you are. In this way you legacy can live on.
If you are interested in leaving behind a legacy, and you have no children, it is recommended you seek advice from an estate planning lawyer Fairfield County, CT relies on.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Sweeney Legal, LLC for their insight into estate planning with no children.