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Even those without children should consider estate planning

For many very personal reasons, some people in Ft. Myers do not have any children. However, this doesn't mean they do not need an estate plan. That being said, estate planning for those with no children can present certain unique complexities.

For example, even though they may have no close relatives, they still should consider who should inherit their estate. For example, giving to a favorite charity or cause they are passionate about both through donations while the person is alive and then leaving the remainder of their estate to the charity in their will or trust, is often a satisfactory way for some people without children to handle estate planning.

Another complex issue is who to choose as executor of their estate, durable power of attorney or health care power of attorney, should they become incapacitated. This can be a difficult decision if one doesn't have a spouse, adult children or other close relatives to appoint to these important roles. Some people decide to choose different people to take on these various roles. For example, these rolls could be assumed by a friend, by an attorney or by a financial institution.

In addition, some types of accounts such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies have beneficiaries designated to them. It is important to review these beneficiaries, as the beneficiary named will trump what a person might say to do with the asset in their will. For example, if a person divorced, they would want to make sure their ex is not listed as a beneficiary on these important accounts.

People may put off making these decisions but, once they do, they may feel as if a great weight has been lifted off their shoulders. After the estate planning process is complete, it is a good idea to review it every few years to ensure it still meets your needs. In the end, everyone benefits from estate planning, whether they have children, a spouse or neither.

Source: CNBC, "Planning your estate when you've got no children or heirs," Sarah O'Brien, May 31, 2017

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