Some people have no living relatives – or only very distant kin they may have never even met. These folks may believe that they don’t need an estate plan. But the reality is that these are the ones who may most need official documentation of their intentions.
Let’s break it down further. Would you want someone who doesn’t even know you well making your final arrangements and disbursing your estate? Most people don’t.
Estate planning for those without heirs is vital
If you don’t have a spouse, sibling, child or other heir, you may mistakenly believe that it doesn’t matter who gets what after you are gone. Even if that were true, what about the end-of-life care you receive? Surely then, of all times, you want your wishes carried out.
That means officially appointing a legal and medical power of attorney and drafting a living will. Make sure that you choose a friend or associate who is willing to carry out your directives.
You can name a charity as a beneficiary of your estate
Many people with no close living relatives decide to gift their favorite charities with a portion or the entirety of their estates. Common choices are animal charities, veterans’ organizations, disease foundations and alma maters. Failing to do this could mean the state of New Jersey takes possession of your assets and property.
Consider a trust
If you own property or have a vast or complex estate, a trust can be the ideal vehicle to use in your estate planning. You can even arrange it to where you live off the proceeds of the trust during your lifetime and then the remainder gets distributed to one or more charitable organizations.
Seeking professional guidance and advice is always a prudent move when doing your estate planning.