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Don't have children? Estate planning is still important

Many Oklahoma residents may wonder if estate planning is important for their situation. Many people may think they don't have enough assets to worry about it, or maybe they don't have a spouse or kids. But, an estate plan is important for a number of reasons and everyone should have at least a basic will and power of attorney.

Over 55 percent of Americans do not have a will. This can lead to big problems when they pass away and they haven't designated how they want their assets distributed. Or, if they become incapacitated, they have not designated a power of attorney or shared their healthcare wishes. Even if a person does not have children, basic estate planning is a necessity. If there is no will, there can be unintended beneficiaries to a person's estate. This has happened with world-famous musician Prince's estate, where his family has been in disagreement over his wishes that he never made known.

At bare minimum a person needs a will and power of attorney. The power of attorney should be set up for health care decisions and for financial decisions. If a person is not designated, someone who may not be close to the person can be designated, like an estranged parent or sibling and they may not have a person's best interest in mind. A power of attorney should be a trustworthy person who can make good decisions. It can help to have everything written down in terms of what medical interventions are wanted.

Beneficiaries should also be named and can include, instead of children, nieces and nephews or other family members. A person may also want to name charitable organizations as beneficiaries of their assets by creating a trust, naming them in their will or setting up a charitable foundation.

Source: finance.yahoo.com, "Estate planning is important for people without children", Debbie Carlson, Feb. 16, 2017

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Edmond, OK 73013

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