Proper estate planning is the best way for a parent to pass on their legacy to their children. If have no children, that does not mean it will not make any difference if you pass away with or without a will, trust and other estate planning tools in place.
In Nevada, when a resident dies without a will or trust, the state’s intestacy laws determine who will inherit their assets. That can have unintended (and unwanted) consequences for your loved ones.
Intestacy laws for child-free people vs your final wishes
For many married couples, one spouse dies before the other. When this happens in Nevada, and the deceased spouse did not leave a valid will or trust, the surviving spouse receives all the community property, which generally includes everything they acquired during the marriage.
This may be what you want to happen, but it only addresses the first level of beneficiaries. If your spouse also dies intestate, the assets will go to their surviving relatives based on the order of preference in the intestacy laws. You and your spouse might not want your assets to go to those people. Meanwhile, your other relatives, loved ones, friends or charitable causes the two of you believe in, might not receive anything you intend for them receive.
Where will your estate end up after your spouse passes away?
Imagine a scenario where you predecease your spouse and die intestate while your spouse has an estate plan. You might agree with your spouse’s choice of heirs but remember that an estate plan can be changed. Intentionally or unintentionally, your spouse could change the estate plan after you die and possibly exclude beneficiaries whom you thought were getting your assets after your spouse’s death.
Remote as this possibility might seem in your marriage, you can prevent this through good estate planning, including a properly drafted revocable living trust. This would let you provide for your surviving spouse, and thenafter they are gone, the remaining assets can go to the beneficiaries of your choice.
Preparing an estate plan is a wise move for adults of all ages, no matter how many children they have, or do not have.