Estate Planning for those without Heirs

Every person’s situation is different when it comes to estate planning. Although it seems like the stereotypical estate planning involves leaving all of your assets to your spouse and your children, we recognize that not every person squeezes into the same proverbial box. There are a number of planning options for any person no matter the circumstances. We would like to use this post to describe some options for those who may not have the exact situation as described above.

When thinking about estate planning, there are two main questions that a person needs to think about: 1) Who is getting my stuff and 2) Who is going to make sure that those named get my stuff? While these are some of the important questions in estate planning, there may be some who do not have friends or family to fill those roles. There are a number of people in the same set of circumstances. You are not the only one. I can assure you of that.

In thinking about where you want your stuff to go, there may be a number of reasons why someone may not want to or may not be able to leave your assets to friends or family members. Some may be hesitant of leaving a large inheritance to those who are already successful because they may feel that the inheritance would be best served elsewhere. Others may not be close to their family. Some may be in a family rift. Others may feel that those receiving the assets would squander them.

No matter what reason you have, you may want to consider charitable giving as an option. Legacy gifts are those donations made to a charity upon the death of an individual. Often planning ahead for a legacy gift can provide a number of benefits for the individual. Whether it is being considered a “VIP” at charity fundraising events or becoming well connected within an organization, charitable giving can be a rewarding experience for those looking for potential options. Another benefit to charitable giving can be reducing your income taxes. A Tennessee estate planning attorney can help you maximize the benefits of your gift while also reducing the amount of taxes that you have to pay.  

In thinking about who you want to manage your affairs, it is not always necessary to have a friend or family member act as the executor of your estate plan. You have the option to name someone who is in the business handling of these matters. This can actually be beneficial as there are usually no conflicts of interest issues like there may be with a family member or relative. A Tennessee estates lawyer or a bank may operate as the executor. Choosing a professional can help avoid any further issues associated with distributing assets.

The important point is you should not avoid drafting a will merely because you do not plan on leaving your assets to family or friends. You have plenty of different options. If you have any further questions, be sure to contact one of our experienced Tennessee wills and estates attorneys. We would be happy to let you know what options you have.