October 13

I have no one to leave my estate to No Children

Cortes Law Firm Oklahoma City Estate Planning Attorney

I have no one to leave my estate to No Children

In our last video, we talked about why it is so important for single people to have a plan in place for not only your assets, but for your wellbeing, in the event you get sick or become incapacitated. In today's video, we're going to discuss what happens if you have no one to leave your estate to because well, you have no children. We're seeing this more and more guys, every single day.

There are two issues with a single person or even a married couple with no children. First is, who makes medical decisions if you have no children? And second, who gets your assets if you have no children? The first is where I see even married couples struggle with a lot, and that is when they do not have any children.

Usually, a spouse will take care of the other spouse. However, just like a single person, once one of the spouses passes away or becomes incapacitated then they are in the same position as single person without children, who is gonna take care of them? A lot of thought needs to be put into who will take care of you and make decisions, life decisions for you. In other words, who will be your health care power of attorney?

I have witnessed many couples and single people struggle more with this one area than anything else in their estate plan. And I can understand it. It is often easier to decide who gets your money than who will take care of you. If you have no children, then this can be a difficult decision.

Most people will initially pick a brother or sister, but why do you think this might be just a short term solution? Can you take a guess? It's a short term solution because as you age, well, so does your brother or your sister, right. While your sister might be an excellent choice when you are both under 60 or even 70 years, as you get older so does your sister and so they may not be the greatest choice anymore.

As your sister gets older, her ability to take care of you also diminishes, who do you pick for this critical role of taking care of you? Initially I do recommend a brother and sister but I strongly recommend having a niece or a nephew as a backup or some other younger family member. That way, if your sister or your brother gets too old to take care of you, then you have a backup. People struggle with choosing a medical healthcare power of attorney to the point of not doing anything.

And I recommend guys, just picking someone initially, so that you have a plan in place right now. We can always go back and change that designation and put in a backup, but it's important to have a plan in place. I would rather people leave my office with a plan, even if it's just temporary. And we've done that a lot, especially with people who are having surgery.

A temporary plan is better than nothing because you took six months to decide who would be your medical power of attorney. And if something happens in that six months, then you are not covered. As with all estate planning, this is an area that must be revisited on an annual basis.

Second, who gets your assets if you have no children? If there are no children or close family, it can be difficult for people to decide who to leave their estate to. Along with that is usually the decision of who will be their personal representative or executor of their estate. Just like the medical power of attorney, these can be tough decisions, and I understand that.

If you've watched our last video, then you saw my example of a single person who's estate was divided between 20 plus different cousins, 18 of which she had never even met during her lifetime. In most states, if there is no last will and testament, then a probate is distributed according to what's called intestate succession. Intestate succession means that your state has a law stating exactly really who gets your assets if you don't make that decision yourself.

In Oklahoma, you can look it up yourself, it's currently in section 213 of title 84. Most states have very similar laws and go something like this, if there's no spouse, then to your children, if no children, then to your parents, if no parents, then to your brothers and sisters, if no brothers and sisters, then to your grandparents, if no grandparents, then to your aunts and uncles, if there are no aunts and uncles, then to your cousins, after that if no family can be found, then the estate it cheats to your state, a cheat is just another fancy word that just means that your state that you're living in gets all of your assets.

Usually states designate a specific state agency to get the assets. In Oklahoma, assets go to the State of Oklahoma for the support of common schools. And like I said, most states are similar, check with your own laws. If you're wondering what the law is in your specific state, then search for intestate succession in your states probate laws, you should be able to find an answer there.

You might be surprised by who gets your assets if you do not have an estate plan in place, as you've just seen. It really does not matter if you're married or single. Like I said last time, if you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail. Your wellbeing will be left to the guardianship courts and your estate, your assets will be left to the laws of intestate succession and the probate courts in your state.

I know this is a lot to think about, and so that's why we put together our free guide on estate planning. I'll put a link in the description below and again in the comment section.

Our free estate planning guide that our clients use every day to get you started in the right direction. And to up your estate planning game even more, please check out this video up here, and this video up here. As always, if you like this video, please hit that like button and be sure to smash that subscribe button. And if you could, share this with your friends, I would really appreciate it. You don't know how much that means to us. Have a great day and as always have an awesome week. Thanks for watching.


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