If you have children, you likely plan on leaving your estate to them when you die. What do you do, though, if you have no children and are not married at the time of your death? You may not know who to leave your estate to, but there are a number of different options.
Leave Your Estate to Your Siblings, Their Children, or Other Family Members
If you have no children of your own but have nieces or nephews, you could leave your assets to them. This allows you to ensure that certain heirlooms and other family items are kept within the family. You can set up trusts for your nieces and nephews just like you could for your own children. Of course, you can also leave your estate to your siblings with instructions that certain items are to pass to their children. This is often ideal if your nieces and nephews are very young. If you’re an only child, you can leave items to your cousins if you want to make certain they are kept within the family.
Make Your Best Friend Your Beneficiary
If you have no family or are estranged from your family, you may not want them to benefit from your estate at all. In that case, you can always leave your assets to a close friend or two. If these friends have children, you could create a trust that specifies your assets are to pay for their education. If you have several close friends and don’t want anyone to feel left out, you can always specify that your estate is to be divided equally, just as you could do with your children.
Of course, you don’t have to leave your assets to any one person. You can leave them to a charity, either as a direct gift or through a trust. This allows you to ensure that your assets go to a cause you truly believe in.
Need help determining who to leave your estate to? Michael F. Kanzer & Associates can assist you with creating trusts, wills, and other documents necessary to make certain your assets go to the correct people. Contact us today to schedule a meeting.