It is common for people in Delaware to believe that wills are unnecessary if they do not have children. There are multiple reasons that writing a will is still important, even if a person is childless.

When unmarried people without children die, their assets will pass to those who have been named in the will, which could include other family members, friends or charities. However, if there is no will, a decedent’s assets will be distributed in accordance with the state law of intestacy, which could result in those assets reverting to the state if there are no family members.

An important part of comprehensive estate planning is that people of all ages need to have living wills, HIPAA authorizations and advanced directives in place. No one knows when they may be incapacitated by a sudden accident or illness. In the event they are, a living will or advanced directive can provide them the ability to still have control over the care they are willing to receive. These documents allow people to specify the types of medical treatments they want. They can then designate a person to make important medical decisions for them according to their outlined wishes. A HIPAA authorization must also be in place so the health care proxy can be allowed to access their medical records in the event they are incapacitated.

A comprehensive estate plan is important for all people who are older than age 18, regardless of whether or not they have children. Once basic documents are written and in place, they should be regularly reviewed and updated as major life changes occur. Even if a person is childless, it is better that a chosen person or charity receives their assets than the government’s receiving the earnings they have worked hard for their entire lives. People may want to get help from an estate planning attorney with drafting the needed documents.