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Why a will matters even for people without heirs

Single and childless people in Nevada might wonder what kind of an estate plan they need. In addition to deciding who to leave their assets to, they may also want to think about who will manage their health care and financial affairs if they become incapacitated. If a person dies intestate, which means dying without a will, then the state decides how that person's assets are distributed.

One option for people who are going to leave a sizable estate is charitable giving. This may be done in the form of a foundation that is established in a person's lifetime. For example, one retired teacher set up a scholarship for at-risk students at the school where she taught and was able to enjoy seeing her gift in action. People should be aware that beneficiary designations, such as those for retirement accounts and insurance policies, override wills, so people who have ex-spouses or others listed that they no longer want to receive the assets must change those forms.

A bank may act as an estate executor if a person is hesitant to appoint someone, and a person chosen to make health-care decisions might be assisted by a living will that outlines preferences for end-of-life care. A power of attorney appoints someone to make financial decisions.

Will planning is important even if a person does not have heirs. People without immediate family might still want to leave assets for nieces, nephews, cousins or close friends, but this may not be what happens to their assets without a will. A will can also specify the distribution of assets that have little monetary value but do have sentimental importance. An attorney may be able to assist a person in these and other aspects of creating an estate plan.

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