As the adage goes, you can’t take it with you. Whether you want to spend your last dime or leave it all behind when you go, creating a comprehensive plan for your estate begins earlier than you might think. If you don’t have children or obvious heirs, documenting your wishes and making them accessible will help ensure those wishes are fulfilled should something happen to you.
“If today were your last day on earth, who would get your stuff?” says Jean-Luc Bourdon, a certified public accountant in Santa Barbara, California, and a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ personal financial planning executive committee. It’s a question he poses to all of his clients, especially those without kids. While parents may think their children are the answer, Bourdon says people without children need to plan more carefully.