More and more people are choosing to not have children these days. At the end of life, where do these assets go? Without a will, the State of North Carolina has a set of laws that decides for you. This is why it’s important to plan for asset distribution whether one has children or not.

Here are some ways to distribute wealth when someone doesn’t have children:

  1. Other family: Nephews, nieces and step children are probably the most common inheritors other than children. But don’t overlook siblings and cousins. This would give those in that person’s generation a way to live a little more comfortably, and the younger generation could still possibly benefit from the estate.
  2. Other loved ones: Many people who don’t have family create one. Perhaps someone fills in a grandfatherly role for kids in the neighborhood, or has built a special relationship with a local family. These people – the ones who care for each other and function as family – could be good choices for inheritance.
  3. Charities: Leaving an estate to a charity (or a few charities) close to the person’s heart is a sure way to know that one’s estate is appreciated and will be used well.
  4. Start a foundation: Many people who don’t have children to inherit their estate set up foundations for projects they are passionate about. Maybe someone loved music. Perhaps a foundation to grant scholarships for music students can be started with the person’s assets. A person’s legacy is then allowed to live on through their passions.

In this type of circumstance, the need for a thorough and clearly stated estate plan is of utmost importance. A trustworthy executor and detailed instructions for distribution of the estate will ensure that the person’s legacy will continue according to their wishes. If you are in the Raleigh, NC area, the team at Thornton Law Firm is happy to help create an estate plan for you. Contact us today to get started.