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Estate planning for someone with money and without heirs

When a single person or childless couple in Nevada decides to set up their estate plan, they might wonder how to distribute their wealth. Several considerations could include former schools, family members, charity or even a pet. In addition, they might wonder how to ensure that their efforts at will planning are honored after they're gone. In addition to 17 million single Americans older than 65, younger individuals are making these decisions before they even marry. Some of them might have received significant inheritances or earned money through the stock market or selling a new business.

A representative with a foundation in Silicon Valley observed that the organization is distributing more than $1 billion this year from social media stock after doling out $367 million in 2013. One example is a 37-year-old engineer who is motivated by the example social media and tech gurus have established through their generosity. While he doesn't have the excessive wealth that some of his role models might own, he wants to help others now.

Financial advisers observe that the person's age isn't as important as the amount of money they have when they die. They list a guideline of $100,000 or more in assets and say that people with that amount should have an estate plan set up so that their money and property won't be governed by state intestacy laws. They also recommended that people address health care issues, especially if they are unable to make decisions after an accident or serious illness.

Some people enjoy giving to others and want to help them out during their lifetime. An estate planning attorney might offer suggestions on how to distribute wealth while a client is living.

Source: Reuters, " Estate planning for the young, rich and childless", Beth Pinsker, June 02, 2014

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