Planning for Your Estate If You Have No Heirs

Planning for Your Estate If You Have No HeirsIf you do not have children, who should you leave your estate to when you are gone? For many people, this is a challenging decision as making the right choice for you will depend upon what you would like to do with your assets. If you are single and childless, having an estate plan is still an important consideration, even if you do not have many assets. You can choose to give all your assets to family, friends, or charities to support an important cause.

If you do not have an estate plan, which includes a will, your assets will go to your closest living relative. In New Jersey, this could be a spouse, parents, sibling, or your lost cousin. Who inherits what you own depends upon your circumstances, and if you would like to make sure that your money and property go where you would like them to go, you should create a will.

In addition to a will, another option is to create a charitable trust. If you do not have children, this will allow you to designate a nonprofit organization as a beneficiary. You may also select specific religious organizations, hospitals, or recreational facilities as recipients of the trust. An attorney at Bratton Law Group can help you decide and even offer other options for you based upon your circumstances. For example, you could give to a college or university as well.

If you create a charitable trust, you will be able to take an income tax deduction and can receive an income stream for the rest of your life. Upon your death, the charity you have chosen will receive the remaining assets. What is beneficial about this option is that you can start to see the impact of your gift before death. With this option, if you wanted to support the American Red Cross, for example, you would not only receive an income tax deduction, you would also have income each year and be able to see your property being put to good use for the duration of your life. If you would like your gift to be used for specific purposes, you can always contact the organization to discuss and plan how to best use the funds in the charitable trust. You should also consider the fact that with a charitable trust, you won’t be able to benefit from the principal. You can, however, receive income each year.

With the new year approaching, consider creating an estate plan or making changes to an existing one to ensure that it reflects what you want to do with your assets. A charitable trust could be one way for you to make sure your estate goes to the organization of your choice, yet since this type of trust is irrevocable, you will need the expertise of an attorney skilled in assisting clients in making the best possible choices. Contact Bratton Law today.