I am single. My husband passed away a few years ago and we did not have any children. My estate consists of my house in Summerset, a few different bank accounts and an IRA. I have one brother, but he is older than me and I don’t feel all that close to his son. I feel frustrated and stuck with my planning.
-Stymied on Suntan
Dear Stymied on Suntan:
In my experience, clients without children really have to put on their “thinking caps.” Many of the “default rules” don’t apply when you do not have children.
For example, if you have no written estate documents, your money will be distributed entirely by the courts to your closest living relative(s). Here, your brother would inherit everything. Since he is older, he may predecease you. If this happens, the estate will go to your nephew, his son. Further, even if your brother does survive you, he may leave his entire estate (including what you left him) to his son. That does not sound ideal!
Perhaps you could consider leaving some funds to your brother, some to friends and the rest to charities that you believe in. But these wishes must be in writing, otherwise they won’t be achieved. You also need to carefully consider who will care and look after you if you become incapacitated, a task your brother might not be able to do. I am always here to brainstorm and help with ideas…