Sometimes people put off estate planning because there are no children in the picture, or because they do not relish leaving assets to them. But that often represents an opportunity of their own that gets lost.
1. You can still plan for you.
Estate plans contemplate long-term and lifetime goals, as well as planning for a more secure future. These benefits do not need to wait simply because children are not in the picture at that moment. By undertaking the relevant planning, you can still make sure you are on an appropriate path for yourself, and have addressed any gaps and liabilities that could hamper your financial security. Also, estate planning includes certain health care planning, the benefits of which should not be dismissed.
2. Securing your values and experiences.
A legacy is not just the assets to be transferred, but also the experiences, responsibilities, and values that can be instilled. Doing so increases the likelihood that the legacy will have a positive impact and lasting value. Whether your beneficiaries are children, relatives, friends, or philanthropic causes, estate planning allows you to bring those people into the conversation and prepare them as beneficiaries.
3. Planning for the personality of beneficiaries.
Some tools in estate planning allow you to set particular objectives or incentives. For example, some gifts may be made contingent on particular actions, such as enrolling or graduating from college, starting a business, or the like. Others may be structured in such a way to assist a beneficiary with educational or other costs, or to provide a certain distribution over time, without dumping assets to the point they are likely to be dissipated or spent frivolously. In this way, your plans can be customized to fit the nature and personality of your beneficiaries.
Estate planning is part of a process of building wealth over time. There is no need to wait for a perfect situation to begin, whether that include children, or a certain number of children, or anything else.