Some individuals have the issue of trying to divide up a small estate among many heirs, but others have a different problem – they have no heirs to leave their estate to. If you’re facing this situation, you may wonder what you should even do with your estate. If you don’t make a will or create any sort of estate plan and the probate court cannot find any family, the estate could go into what is called escheat, which means the state claims all of the assets. No one wants the government to get all of their money and property when they die, which is why even if you have no heirs or relatives, you need to have an estate plan.
Look for a Charity
One solution to avoid escheat is to leave your estate to a charity or several charities. This is done by creating a charitable trust. There are many different charities and organizations you can leave your estate to. While you can select a known charity such as the Red Cross or a local group that helps those in need, there are other options, too. You could work with your alma mater to create an endowment for scholarships, for example, or leave it to your local library for building maintenance and renovations.
Leave it to Friends
If you don’t have any family, you can gift your friends with your estate. Just like with your heirs, you can decide which of your friends get which assets, and you can even leave set up trusts if you’d like.
Provide for a Caregiver
If you’ve had a caregiver for years, what better way to repay them for their assistance than by leaving them some or all of your assets? Some people choose to set aside a part of their estate to a caregiver even if they have children and other heirs as a way of saying thank you.
Leave Your Estate to Your Pets
While it might sound crazy, it’s actually not that uncommon for someone to designate that part of their estate goes to care for their beloved pets. All you have to do is set up a trust and select a friend or other individual as the caregiver for your pets.
Work with a Legal Expert
No matter who you’re leaving your estate to, you need to be sure all of the paperwork is done correctly so there’s no question as to what you want or a loophole someone can use to contest your will. You need to work with an experienced estate planner at Michael F. Kanzer & Associates to make certain your final plans are carried out correctly. Contact us today for a free consultation.