Southeastern Massachusetts Estate Planning with No Family Lawyer

If you don’t have any family members to inherit your estate after you pass away, you may be wondering whether you need to create an estate plan. Just because you don’t have children, grandchildren, or other family members, you may have other friends or favorite charities you’d like to see benefit from your hard-earned assets.

At Surprenant & Beneski, PC, we recognize that everyone 18 and older should have an estate plan, regardless of their family situation. We have helped many Southeastern Massachusetts residents who don’t have family create a will, advance healthcare directive, and other important estate planning documents. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you create a comprehensive estate plan with no family.

Do I Even Need an Estate Plan If I Have No Family?

Sometimes people assume that they only need to create a will if they have children or grandchildren. However, creating a will is important for everyone, regardless of whether they have family or not. There are many other benefits that come with estate planning beyond distributing your property. When a person dies without a will in place or intestate, their assets will be distributed according to Massachusetts intestacy laws. Without a last will and testament, your assets may be distributed to distant relatives you don’t even know.

When you work with an attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan, you can ensure that your assets will be distributed to friends or charities of your choice. You can also protect your assets from potential creditors and potentially decrease your tax liability. An estate plan can also address the possibility that you may become incapacitated. You can plan for long-term care and appoint a medical executor to make medical decisions on your behalf in that scenario.

Creating a Will Without Family

Creating a will is among the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your assets. Without a will in place, the state of Massachusetts will decide how to divvy up your assets, and the outcome may not be desirable to you. When the probate court cannot find any legal heirs, they may give your property to the state of Massachusetts.

When you work with an experienced attorney, creating a will is less complicated than many people realize. The main thing you will need to decide is who you would like to receive your assets after you pass away. You don’t have to leave your assets to a family member. You can choose to leave your assets to a close friend, a co-worker, or your favorite charitable organization. 

Will-based estate plans work effectively for many Massachusetts residents. In some cases, a trust-based estate plan may work better for your needs. After reviewing your financial situation, one of the estate planning attorneys at Surprenant & Beneski, PC can guide you on whether a trust-based or will-based estate plan will best meet your needs. 

Appoint an Executor 

As an individual without family members, appointing an executor may be a difficult decision. An executor is a person who will be responsible for carrying out the provisions of your will. You don’t have to appoint a family member as your executor, but you should appoint someone who you trust and who has the capacity to effectively meet their responsibilities. 

An executor should also be a person who is willing to serve, so you may want to talk to the person you have in mind for the role before executing your will. You can also appoint an alternate executor in case your top choice is unavailable or unwilling to serve. If you live alone and do not have a partner or family members, you may want to consider appointing an attorney or an agency to act as your executor.

Designating a Beneficiary

Designating a beneficiary who will receive your assets after you pass away can be difficult when you do not have a spouse, partner, or family members. When considering who should receive your property, try thinking outside the box. Do you have any friends, co-workers, neighbors, or other people in your life who you would like to designate as your beneficiary? 

Friends and family aren’t your only options when it comes to designating beneficiaries, however. Many individuals who don’t have children or heirs choose to leave their assets to their favorite charities. If you have pets, an estate planning attorney can help you create a pet trust to ensure that they are taken care of according to your wishes after you pass away.

Consider a Charitable Remainder Trust to Generate Income 

Depending on your financial situation, it may be wise to transfer your assets to your favorite charity or charities during your lifetime so you can maximize tax deductions. In other cases, setting up a charitable trust can be advantageous. A charitable trust will distribute your assets to the charity you choose over a designated amount of time. 

At Surprenant & Beneski, PC, we can help you ensure that the charitable organization you choose doesn’t face a massive tax bill when they receive your assets by implementing effective estate planning strategies.

Creating an Advanced Health Care Directive

Many of us will need to spend time in a nursing home or assisted living facility. A comprehensive estate plan for an individual without family members should include a long-term care plan to help you become eligible for Medicaid benefits. Your estate plan should also include a durable power of attorney that will allow a trusted individual to make financial decisions and pay your bills if you become incapacitated. 

Finally, your estate plan should include an advance health care directive informing doctors of your preferred medical treatments and appointing an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Reach Out to a Southeastern Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney

Everyone’s estate planning needs are unique, and it’s important to create a comprehensive estate plan regardless of whether you have children or heirs. At Surprenant & Beneski, PC, our estate planning attorneys will work with you to understand your estate planning needs and goals. We’ve helped many people without children, or family members create effective estate plans. Contact us today to learn more about our estate planning services.