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Estate planning for couples without children

Some couples in Minnesota and other states have decided not to have children because of insecurities regarding their parenting skills, concerns about their finances, worries regarding climate change and instability, and a wide variety of other reasons. Couples who decide to be child-free experience challenges related to estate planning that are different than couples who have children.

One common idea is that a will is not necessary for child-free couples. Not having a will is actually quite common; it is estimated that over 60% of people do not have one. However, if an individual dies and does not have this important document, the state has the responsibility of determining where a couple's assets will go. Of course, this is upon the death of both spouses. If just one spouse was to die, their assets would likely go to the other spouse.

Another important document to have is a power of attorney. This crucial document gives a responsible and trusted individual fiduciary responsibility to act in an individual's best interests. They may pay bills, handle matters regarding an individual's property or even manage their investments if the individual is not able to do so on their own.

When couples decide not to have children, they need to determine who will receive their money and assets when they die. Many couples choose to give their assets to centers of education, religious organizations or charities.

An individual who is interested in donating their assets to charity when they die may have questions about how to structure charitable donations. An estate planning attorney may be able to provide information regarding charitable trusts to their client. They may also be able to help their clients draw up documents like a power of attorney or will.

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