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What estate planning documents should childless couples draft?

One of the steps that couples take when they find out that they're expected a child is to sit down with an attorney to engage in estate planning. They often do this to appoint a guardian to raise their kids and to make financial arrangements if something happens to them. While these aren't some of the hard decisions that childless couples have to make, there are other difficult choices regarding the legacy that they want to leave that they have to decide on though.

While many individuals think that they should only draft a will if they have something of value to leave to their heirs like children, this isn't the case. Everyone needs to have a will.

In most jurisdictions, a husband's or wife's assets end up going to their spouse once they die. If both of you die simultaneously, then New Jersey intestate succession rules would be applied. This may mean that your parents, siblings and more distant relatives would become your heirs. If the prospect of this rubs you the wrong way and you'd rather see your assets be put to use by a charity or friend, then you'll want to state this in your will.

While you should draft a will, if you don't, then you'll want to make sure and regularly review and update the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies and retirement accounts. This will ensure that funds that you've invested into these financial instruments end up in the hands of someone that could put the money to good use.

You should also make sure to draft a power of attorney (POA). You can use this to appoint someone to make financial decisions on your behalf if something happens to you or your spouse. The person that you appoint to this role must be trustworthy as most POAs are written giving them an unfettered ability to make financial decisions for you.

There are many reasons that childless married individuals should sit down to plan for the future. At your first appointment with an attorney in Middlesex, they'll take time to get to know you and your final wishes and advise you of what legal documents that you may want to draft to ensure that your final wishes are upheld.

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