In California, you are free to give your estate to whomever you want to, but how do you set up your distribution plan if you do not have any children? The choice of who inherits from you is very personal and should reflect your values. Here are some options to consider.
If you do not currently have children and you are certain that you will never have children, you can choose to give your estate to anyone you wish. Typical choices are your spouse, family members, friends, neighbors and charities. Remember to include your alternate Beneficiaries for each Beneficiary in case your first choice Beneficiary dies before you.
If you do not currently have children, but you think that you might have children someday, you can give your estate to your future children by simply adding them as a group (the legal term for a group of unnamed individuals who are similarly situated is “class”). You do not need to give us their names since, obviously, you do not know their names yet. To do this at California Trusts Online, in our questionnaire when you are asked the names of your Beneficiaries, instead of adding the names of your future children, you can enter your Beneficiary as “all my children” and then choose “equal distribution.” This means that if you have any children at the time of your death, they will split your estate between them.
You can name your children as a class for your first choice of Beneficiaries or as your alternate Beneficiaries. For instance, if you want your spouse to inherit everything from you if your spouse survives you but you want your children to inherit from you if your spouse dies before you, your spouse would be your first choice of Beneficiary for 100% of your estate and “all of my children” would be your alternate Beneficiary for 100% of your estate.
Alternatively, if you want 50% of your estate to go to your spouse and 50% of your estate to be divided equally between your children, you can enter your spouse’s name and enter 50%. Then enter “all my children” and enter 50%. (Remember that your estate plan controls your one half of the community property that you own with your spouse and all of your separate property. So giving your spouse 50% of your estate means that they would have 75% of the community property and 50% of your separate property.)
It is important to name Guardians for your children even if you do not currently have children, but you think that you might have children someday. The Guardian would take care of your children in case you died while any of your children are minors.
If you are unclear how to fill out our questionnaire, you can always email our customer care team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also if we have questions about your answers to our questionnaire, we will reach out to you by email. We do not give individual legal advice, but we can help you craft your documents to fit your wishes. Click here to start your estate plan today.