Georgia couples who do not have children might think they do not need an estate plan. However, an estate plan is just as important for them. While preserving wealth for their descendants might not be a concern, they may still have assets they want to leave for loved ones, a charity or even for a pet. Furthermore, an estate plan can be important for ensuring that a person is protected in case of becoming incapacitated.
When a person is unable to make medical decisions because of illness, the spouse usually steps in to make those decisions followed by the children. Therefore, it may be particularly important for people who do not have children to choose a patient advocate who will oversee their health care needs. Couples should meet with their patient advocate to ensure the individual knows and understands their wishes for medical care. It may also be important to create a power of attorney for someone to manage finances. These and other precautions may help ensure that older people without families are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals.
Creating an estate plan is also an opportunity for a couple to ensure that they are able to use their assets to carry out a variety of personal and charitable goals. For example, they might decide to create a charitable trust.
An attorney may be able to help guide a couple through the creation of an estate plan and the options available depending on the couple’s situation. For example, a couple might want to set up a trust that is specifically intended to pay for a niece and nephew’s education or to help them purchase their first homes. In other cases, a will might be sufficient for a couple to pass on assets to friends or other family members.