Estate Planning for Those Without Next of Kin

January 27, 2016
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An article in US News and World Report presents the question, “If today were your last day on earth, who would get your stuff?”  Truth be told there are only three options; “Uncle Sam, charity or individuals.” People with children often feel a sense of urgency to plan ahead and make sure their children are taken care of in the event of their untimely death. However, US News and World Report highlights the need for individuals who do not have children to plan ahead as well. With no next of kin, their savings may go straight to Uncle Sam if they do not plan otherwise. Having a durable power of attorney, health care proxy, a living will, and long term care insurance are also just as important. Unfortunately, for this group of people, planning ahead is often overlooked.

End-of-life conversations and making these decisions can be uncomfortable for many people, but it is important to keep in mind that anything can happen at any given time. A healthy 40 year old can be hit by a car and suddenly find themselves in a position where they are unable to make decisions for themselves. For individuals who are single or do not have children, it is especially crucial to appoint a person to act on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so for yourself. Without the proper legal documentation, even your most trusted family or friends will not be able to step in for you without lengthy and costly court intervention. This can be a scary reality to face, but planning for the worst case scenario is the safest option.

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