NYT: How to Leave a Legacy When You Don’t Have Children

Anna Goldfarb of the New York Times writes about estate planning when one doesn’t have children.

[M. Eileen Dougherty, an accredited estate planner and president of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils] recommends individuals procure three essential documents: a valid will that meets the requirements of one’s legal state of residence, a power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. It’s also important to stipulate people as backups.

Amen. There are two elements here: having someone in line to assist you in a situation where you are unable to make healthcare and financial decisions, and having a plan for your assets when you die. Your pre-planning here is simply the difference between the government deciding your fate and your deciding.

The most important thing is to have a plan. Prince, Jimi Hendrix and Howard Hughes offer cautionary tales, Ms. Mlakar said, because they died without wills. “What happens in most of those cases, particularly if the estate’s of any size, there’s litigation that pursues, and charities are just left out,” she said.

As a parent in a blended family, I naturally want a plan that helps support loved ones if I die. But if I wasn’t a parent, I’d want a plan that reflected my values and helped to support the causes that I believe in. That doesn’t happen by itself though.  One must preplan. One must make a valid will.

Here, I can help. If you have estate planning questions or need help drafting or updating your will, trust, power of attorney, or healthcare proxy, contact me, Nicholas Provenzo, at nicholas@provenzolaw.com or at 703.625.3296.

Yes, it’s discomforting staring at oblivion. But making the time to map out your estate planning brings peace of mind. Let me help you.

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