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Estate planning strategies for individuals without children

New York residents who do not have children may have some unique questions when it comes to the estate planning process. For example, who will be one's caregiver if a medical infirmity results in mental or physical incapacitation? There are several pieces of advice for those without children, and this information may be helpful during the important process of planning one's estate.

First, estate planners without children must take great care when choosing their advocates -- i.e., the people who may later handle their affairs. When deciding who will handle one's medical, dental, housing and other financial affairs, for example, be sure that the selected person is trustworthy and highly responsible. One's advocates might include a sibling, spouse, partner, friend or relative. Estate planners must be certain that whomever it is they choose will keep their best interests at heart.

A health care power of attorney will also be important for those who do not have children. This document allows estate planners to identify who will make medical decisions if he or she is no longer able to do so. The health care power of attorney, or health care proxy, must be authorized to look at one's medical records. He or she must also have special instructions on what to do in the event of incapacitation with regard to any kind of do not resuscitate orders.

Buying long-term care insurance, setting up an asset distribution plan, creating a gifting plan and setting up a durable power of attorney may also be valuable investments for those who do not have children. Ultimately, though, one's health, financial and family situation will have a big effect on the estate planning process. Also, with expert legal assistance, New York residents without offspring can overcome virtually any kind of challenge and gain peace of mind for what lies ahead.

Source: yourhoustonnews.com, "Aging and estate planning for those without children" Byron W. Ellis, Aug. 30, 2014

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