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Childless couples still need to create carefully crafted wills

For many families, the primary goal of estate planning is to pass on accumulated wealth to the next generation. That is not always the goal, however, especially for married couples in Colorado who do not have children. They also need to consider drafting wills and making plans for how their assets will be distributed upon death.

One of the first priorities for couples who do not have kids is to ensure that the spouse who survives the loss of his or her partner will have the means to live comfortably for the years remainding. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but a well-drafted will is a good place to start. For some couples, a trust can also be a good fit for their estate planning needs.

Once the surviving spouse's interests have been addressed, many childless couples will turn their attention to other potential beneficiaries. This list will vary from one couple to another, but many people choose to leave wealth to an extended family member, a charitable organization or close friends. The only way to ensure that these wishes come to fruition is to create a comprehensive will that details what assets are to be passed on to which party.

Finally, couples without kids should consider establishing a long term care plan for their later years. It is a sad fact that many unscrupulous people will prey on the elderly, and there are plenty of cautionary tales about retired people who are swindled out of their hard-earned savings. Setting up a long term care plan will ensure that each spouse will have the ability to move into an assisted living facility if and when the time comes. This can act as a buffer against the risk of fraud or harm.

When it comes to estate planning needs and the creation of wills, there is no better time than the present. These matters are referred to as estate "planning" because there is an element of forethought that goes into the process. The motivation behind making these plans now is that they will be there when they are most needed. Colorado residents should take the time to work out a plan of action in regard to their estate planning needs.

Source: natlawreview.com, "Just the Two of Us: Estate Planning for the Childless Dual-Income Household", Jamie A. Downes, Jan. 9, 2016

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