Estate Planning for Childless Couples: Protect Your Assets and Future with An Estate Plan
Estate planning isn’t just for those with children or substantial assets. Learn why it’s crucial for childless couples and what to consider in Wisconsin.
Why Childless Couples Need Estate Planning
Childless couples often assume they don’t need estate plans. However, several important reasons make estate planning vital for them:
1. Decide Asset Distribution
Even without children, you likely have assets like a home, car, or savings. Without a will, Wisconsin’s laws will dictate asset distribution, potentially neglecting your preferences.
2. Protect Privacy
Passing without a will means courts decide your estate’s fate, exposing your financial matters to the public. Establishing a trust can safeguard your assets and avoid probate.
3. Appoint Decision Makers
Estate planning extends beyond death. Designate durable powers of attorney for healthcare and finances, ensuring trusted individuals make decisions if you become incapacitated.
Estate Planning for Married Childless Couples in Wisconsin
Married couples without children need to clarify their estate plans. Consider:
- Asset distribution if one spouse passes first
- Asset distribution if both spouses pass simultaneously
- Postnuptial agreements to define individual asset ownership
- Financial and healthcare powers of attorney
- Executors and co-executors for various scenarios
- Beneficiary updates for Payable on Death accounts
- Trusts for different circumstances
- Planning for disability
- Business succession if applicable
- Charitable giving
Property to Include in Your Will for Married Childless Couples
Be explicit about property in your will. Consider:
- Investment accounts (401K, IRA, mutual funds, bonds)
- Savings/checking accounts (joint and individual)
- Life insurance policies (typically non-probate)
- Real estate (home, land, vacation property)
- Vehicles (cars, boats, etc.)
- Valuables (jewelry, heirlooms, furniture)
- Household belongings
- Digital property (photos, online accounts)
- Pets and their care
Should Childless Couples Establish a Trust?
Trusts can streamline asset distribution and offer tax benefits. Even if you prefer a detailed will, consider a trust for efficient execution and asset protection.
Marital Property Agreements for Childless Couples
Couples planning to marry or already married can benefit from marital property agreements (prenuptial or postnuptial). These agreements clarify asset ownership and simplify distribution upon a spouse’s death.
Comprehensive Estate Planning for Childless Couples
Childless couples, regardless of their wealth, should work with an attorney to craft clear estate plans. These plans can ensure your wishes are met and avoid disputes, providing peace of mind for you and your spouse.
Don’t postpone estate planning because you lack children or significant assets. Protect your future and assets by consulting an estate planning attorney to create a tailored plan. Secure your legacy today.
For more information on estate planning in Wisconsin, consult the UW Law School resource and the State Bar of Wisconsin.
Contact attorneys at Dahlberg Law Group, including Attorney Steve Eichstaedt, to assist you in your estate planning journey.