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Childless couples can still benefit from estate planning

Financial concerns, fertility issues or other problems may keep individuals in Louisiana or anywhere else from having children. However, it is still generally a good idea for all adults to have an estate plan even if they don't have kids. It is also important to have a plan that accounts for the possibility that both spouses could pass at nearly the same time. It is considered a best practice to have a will as part of an estate plan.

A will gives a person greater control over where money or other assets go after he or she dies. For instance, property could be gifted to a charity, a school or a favorite relative through this document. Without a will, assets could pass to a spouse, parent or another family member even if that party wasn't the intended beneficiary. The use of beneficiary designations can also make it easier to control who gets money or other assets.

It is important to review these designations annually or as life events take place. A power of attorney and a trust can also be powerful estate planning tools. Trusts can make it easier to leave money behind for a charity or to care for a pet, and these documents are overseen by a trustee of an individual's choice.

As a general rule, anyone can benefit from creating an estate plan that includes a will, trust or power of attorney. It is possible to go through the estate planning process with the assistance of legal counsel who may be able to help create these and other documents. An attorney may also talk more about how to alter them properly. This might minimize the chances that a change is made incorrectly, which might invalidate an estate plan.

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