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Branching Out: When Assets Don't Stay in the Family Tree

In today's world, the so-called "American dream" does not always involve children. Whether this is a conscious decision or due to an inability to procreate, the result is the same; it is becoming increasingly common for individuals to die without traditional heirs (i.e. children or grandchildren) to whom they can leave their assets. In contrast, these individuals are finding other ways in which to donate their worldly possessions.

Notwithstanding the lack of traditional heirs, far too often individuals forego making a Will, choosing instead to let their assets pass under the laws of intestate succession. But, everyone, even those without a large family tree or favorite family members, can and should make their wishes known in a Will. With some forethought and reflection, everyone can create a plan that best suits their wishes.

A favorite charity, alma mater, or religious organization can serve as a wonderful beneficiary of your estate. Estate planning is not just about who gets what, but has a deeper meaning - what is your legacy? What causes are most important to you? What organization is closest to your heart? What values do you want to support after you are gone? The answer to these questions is not always easy, but taking the time to consider them is always worth it. In addition to these philanthropic tendencies, you may be inclined to leave your estate to close friends whom you consider to be family. But without forethought and planning, your generosity will prove to be fruitless.

So, if you do not have a traditional family, or simply do not wish to leave them your assets, consider putting an estate plan into place that best suits your wishes.

© 2021 by McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 178
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About this Author

Margaret S. Barr, Estate Planning Attorney, McBrayer, Law firm
Associate

Ms. Barr is a member of the firm's estate planning and administration practice group where she practices in virtually every aspect of estate planning & administration, including wills, trusts (qualified domestic trusts, educational trusts, dynasty trusts), powers of attorney, and advance directives. She understands that estate matters are very personal and is dedicated to providing hands-on attention to the professionals she represents so that their estate matters are handled the right way in every case.

She also assists individuals in the administration of their loved ones'...

859-231-8780, ext. 308
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