For California residents without children, estate planning may sometimes fall to the wayside. An estate plan protects your assets after you die, instead of allowing the state’s court system delegate who receives your assets.

For those with close friends and family members, the decisions that involve leaving your assets after you die are still difficult ones. However, when you do not have family or close friends, you may discover it to be even more complex. Who can you leave your assets to in your will or living trust? How do you ensure that your money goes toward something that you would support? Even single people without children need to look into creating a solid estate plan.

Estate planning professionals suggest that you consider focusing on charitable giving. If you have no heirs to leave your estate to, consider your interests and hobbies. If you were a teacher, perhaps you could leave your assets to the school or donate to scholarship funds. In addition to planning your estate, you may also have to name a health-care proxy. You may want to make your terminal wishes known so that your designated individual makes the decisions you would want them to when you cannot make such decisions for yourself.

For those who named family or other heirs in their estate plan, you may also want to plan for the unfortunate possibility of something happening to your family members before you die. If this is the case, you may want to include a clause that resolves issues if you have no family beforehand.

No matter your situation, thinking both critically and proactively about your estate plan can give you peace of mind and plan for the unknown.