Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog


Estate Planning for Childless Couples: Matters of Life, and Death

March 2, 2015

Search the web for “estate planning” and you’ll find a vast number of articles directed at married couples who have children. But what if you areĀ  married and do not have kids? You might think that not having “lineal heirs” would would simplify the estate planning process, but that’s not necessarily so.

Whether or not they have children, spouses usually appoint each other as health care agent and power of attorney. But in the absence of adult children, who will serve as backups? Even if your spouse is alive, incapacity may prevent him/her from being able to make your financial and health care decisions, so backups are always necessary in order to protect yourself from becoming the subject of a court guardianship. Who should you name as backups if you have no children? A trusted niece, nephew, cousin or family friend are possibilities. If this is not an option, it could be a lawyer, CPA, a clergy person, or even a geriatric care manager, as long as the person understand the job duties and is willing to act.

Just because there are no children in the picture doesn’t mean you don’t care where your assets end up after you’re gone. To make sure they go where you wish, you need a suitable estate plan. For example, our married clients without children often want to name a niece, nephew, sister or brother from their own side of the family as beneficiary(ies). That makes an estate plan a must, because if you pass away intestate, under Florida law your spouse gets all your probatable assets – and if your spouse dies intestate, his side of the family takes all.

Contact our qualified Florida estate planning attorneys to set up your estate plan. Everyone needs one!