Not all families have the same estate planning considerations and concerns. This is particularly true for Dual Income No Kids (DINKs) couples.
Couples or singles with children are equally concerned with stretching their money throughout their lifetimes and leaving a legacy to their children. They often assume (or hope) that if they become disabled over time that family members will step in to assist. This could mean hands on care or supervision of their care in a facility.
For DINKs, this is not the case. While they may have close relationships with nieces, nephews and friends, their primary focus is not on leaving these beneficiaries a large inheritance. If there is money or property left upon their demise, they have beneficiaries that they would prefer to leave the wealth to. Since these individuals did not have the expense of raising children, and did not have their careers modified by child raising times, they will often have more assets than the married with children couples.
For these couples, the primary focus is upon their future and the possibility that at some point, one or both of them may require assistance and care. Without children to guide that process, the selection of agents under Durable Power of Attorneys and Advocates under Health Care Power of Attorneys becomes of greater importance.
Selection of these agents is often difficult. Naming siblings seems practical – they are persons that can be trusted. It may also be somewhat unwise because an individual of the same age may predecease them, or be disabled as well. It is less likely that younger family members would provide a “hands on” approach to caring for them during a health care crisis.
For these individuals, planning for long term care takes a higher priority. They must economically provide a means to live either assisted or ultimately in a long term care setting. This might be for the survivor, or for both of them if they survive into their 90’s. The selection of health care advocates is a key.
Durable Power of Attorneys and Revocable Trusts must be carefully drafted to assure that the Agent or Successor Trustee focuses upon continuing the standard of living of this individual without any concern as to the preservation of the financial estate for the beneficiaries and heirs.
One size certainly never fits all – and that is especially true in the case of the Dual Income No Kids Couple. Careful, special planning is needed to assure that their needs are addressed for disability and old age, as well as the disposition of the remaining wealth upon their passing.