One of the top reasons why many people decide to create an estate plan is because they have children. They understand the importance of ensuring they have in place plans for what will happen with their children if they die and to provide for their children after they are gone.
If you do not have kids, you may wonder if you really need an estate plan. There are inheritance laws that will handle things once you die, but they may not handle them in the way you want.
Next of kin inheritance
According to U.S. News and World Report, inheritance laws may not work the way you think they will, which can create issues after your death. In general, inheritance laws state that your property goes to your next of kin, which is your closest legal relative. However, what you may not realize is that once you pass away, the person inheriting then becomes the owner. Should that person die, inheritance laws apply for that person, not for you.
For example, if you die and all your assets go to your spouse and then your spouse dies, his or her family will receive all your assets.
Ensuring you take care of everyone
If you want to provide something for your family beyond your direct next of kin, then you need an estate plan that will allow you to do this. For example, if you and your spouse have an agreement that he or she will use the inheritance from you to help take care of your parents, then you may think things are fine. However, once your spouse dies, there is no agreement with her next of kin to take care of your parents. You can set this up in an estate plan so that you ensure the care of your parents even if you die.