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Protecting Your Legacy
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Estate planning for childless parents

As Americans focus more on their education and on their careers, more couples are opting not to have children. They are often referred to as DINKs, which stands for dual-income no kids. However, just because a Florida couple does not have children does not mean that they shouldn't have an estate plan. There can be objectives other than passing assets to heirs that an estate plan can fulfill.

Those who don't have children may still have other recipients in mind when it comes to their money and other assets. For instance, they may want to give money to family members, friends or charities. It may even be possible to leave money to care for a pet. Charitable trusts may be a great way to help others while reducing estate and income taxes.

Creating a financial and long-term health care plan may guard against exploitation in old age. Those without children or grandchildren to watch over them may be especially susceptible to this. An estate plan may appoint a friend, family member or professional entity to carry out such a plan or take a fiduciary role. Accounting and distribution provisions may also prevent or reduce the odds of exploitation of an individual with no children.

The creation of an estate plan may have many benefits for anyone who wishes to protect their assets now and in the future. Granting a power of attorney to a trusted friend or family member could protect an individual's interests if he or she is mentally incapacitated. Health care advocates may ensure that medical directives are followed if the maker cannot express his or her desires to a medical professional. An attorney can assist in the preparation of these and other important documents.

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