No heirs or living spouse: still a need for sound estate planning

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Some individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere across the country likely feel sometimes as though they are standing outside a bubble denoted “estate planning and administration” and contemplating others within it who are timely and rationally taking care of business in that important realm while they are not.

Indeed, that feeling of uncertainty and — for some people — agitation regarding planning objectives and implementation is not at all uncommon.

And, for understandable reasons, it can seem especially heightened for this select demographic: individuals with no children, heirs or a surviving spouse.

For those people, questions can surround questions when they contemplate things like asset application, their personal legacies, health-care matters going forward and other considerations.

In doing so, notes one recent media focus on estate planning for this particular group, individuals approaching planning from that singular perspective should realize that their need to timely and smartly execute an estate plan can be every bit as important as it is for other individuals.

And just as fulfilling.

Certainly, centrally important questions arise for such individuals, including these:

  • Who should I leave my estate to?
  • Who should I name as my personal representative to execute my will?
  • Who can I entrust to act on my behalf if decisions must be made for me in the future concerning health-related or financial matters?
  • What documents/legal instruments must I execute to promote my planning goals?

The above-cited media report on planning for individuals with no spouse, children or heirs notes that perceived challenges related to the task are often offset by the clear opportunity presented to create an enduring and meaningful legacy. Individuals can be encouraged “to focus on their interests and tie them to charitable giving,” for example.

A proven estate planning attorney will engage with a client in a knowledgeable and empathetic way, seeking to fully ensure that a would-be planner proceeds with confidence and assurance that what he or she is doing in the planning realm makes optimal sense and fully accords with personal values.

Estate planning can be challenging, to be sure, but for many individuals it is also an exciting and eminently fulfilling undertaking.

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