Estate Planning Strategies for Couples Without Children

6:12 pm Asset Protection, Estate Planning

boomer couple1 150x150 Estate Planning Strategies for Couples Without ChildrenTips from America’s Top 100 Asset Protection Attorneys

Estate planning takes on a different shape when there are no children in the picture, and there are some specific strategies that couples can use to be sure assets are protected for each other and eventually pass to the people or organizations you want to receive them.  Here are some tips:

Choosing personal representatives.  Usually, couples will choose each other to act as executor of their estate when no children are involved.  But the planning shouldn’t stop there.  You should consider naming an alternate executor who can serve should something happen to both of you at the same time, or for when the last spouse dies.  If you do not have a trusted family member or friend to fill the role, consider using a professional estate planner to assume these responsibilities.  You should also create an advance healthcare directive, or living will, with a primary and secondary agent to act on your behalf in case you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions.

Deciding on asset distribution.  Your first step is to draft a will that specifies how you wish assets to be distributed upon the death of each spouse.  Each spouse should have his or her own will.  Be specific about any individual bequests, either to people or organizations.

Deciding on gifts.  If you have causes you are passionate about, you can provide for these in a way that is tax efficient for your estate and your surviving spouse.  There are a number of gifting strategies, including trusts, that can be established with the help of an estate planning attorney.

Planning for the unexpected.  Insurance usually plays an important role in a comprehensive estate plan.  Couples without children may wish to invest in long-term care insurance that can help cover assisted living or nursing home care.

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