Estate planning for married couples without children
Anyone can benefit from estate planning, whether they’re single, married, newly divorced or remarried. Having at least a will is important if you’re a couple without children, especially if you want to pass on your assets to specific loved ones.
What happens if you die without having a will in place?
California has intestate succession laws that dictate an estate’s distribution when someone passes away without having a will. These rules call for parents, siblings and other more distant relatives to inherit your assets if you and your husband or wife pass away at the same time and don’t have any kids or a will designating whom you want to receive your assets.
You can draft a will to detail what you’d like to happen with your estate plans if they deviate from what intestate succession laws call for. You can change the order in which family members receive an inheritance or skip over them entirely and leave assets to friends, a charity or something else instead.
Additional estate planning documents you may want to have
In addition to a will, many people have other documents in their estate plan. For example:
- You and your spouse may also want to draft health care directives to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
- It may also be wise to draft a power of attorney (POA) designating someone else as your financial decision maker if you become unable to make such decisions yourself.
- You should designate alternate beneficiaries to your spouse if you have any insurance policies or retirement accounts in case you pass away simultaneously.
- Pet owners often spell out whom they’d like to care for their beloved animals.
The aforementioned are only a few of the many different things to consider when engaging in estate planning. An attorney will want to know more about your life circumstances before recommending specific estate planning documents.