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Dual Income, No Kids? Estate Planning Documents You Should Be Drafting

Posted by Dana Law Group on October 19, 2021

You have two incomes and no children. So, do you really need estate planning documents? In fact, you might need them more than anyone else. Let’s take a look at why estate planning is so important.

The Importance of Proper Estate Planning

Let’s say there’s a couple named John and Jane. John passes away without a will. His estate goes to Jane. Jane remarries. Jane passes away without a will. Her estate, which now includes John’s, goes to her new spouse.

But what about John’s still-living parents? What about John’s brother and sister? Without estate planning, the estate will continue to follow the natural hierarchy of inheritance — which could include the brand new spouse of a former spouse. And that might not be what John would have intended to happen at all.

With the right estate planning, John could specify that his estate should be held in a trust, and that trust should go to Jane first and his parents second. In fact, he could put in quite complex contingencies, such as leaving some money to Jane and some money to his siblings — to ensure that all his family is taken care of.

These are still problems for couples that have children. But there are more safeguards in this case because children are there to inherit in lieu of a will. For those who do not have children, it’s more important to be explicit regarding where your estate will ultimately go.

What is in an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is also more than just your will and a trust. An estate plan also includes things like a living will. If you’re incapacitated, who makes decisions on your behalf? What do you want to happen if, for instance, you’re on life support? These are things you don’t want to force your spouse to guess, even if you have had discussions about it previously.

You can also create a financial power of attorney, which will make it easier for your spouse to access your financial accounts in the event that you cannot. This can alleviate a lot of headaches in the event that the worst does occur. Overall, an estate plan becomes critical in the event that you aren’t able to make decisions for yourself — so your family has a path already charted out for them.

An estate plan isn’t difficult to design. Once you’ve made your decisions, an attorney can draft everything up for you. But you should also make sure that you update it regularly because otherwise, you could find yourself in a bad situation — with a will that is out of date.

Everyone should have an estate plan, not just couples with children. If you don’t have one, there is no better time than the present, before it gets too late. If you are looking for an attorney who can assist you with these documents and take you through the process, Dana Law Group can help.