As an adult with no children to serve as beneficiaries, you may wonder if you need to bother making an estate plan. Many adults without children neglect to make even a simple will, but failing to create even the most fundamental elements of an estate plan may hurt you and those you care about in the long run.

While an estate plan helps you decide where to leave your assets after you die, it also helps you dictate your wishes in other areas. If you become incapacitated, for example, you may not have anyone designated to make medical decisions on your behalf and advocate for your best interests. For this and similar reasons, it is wise to create an estate plan that has, at minimum, the following.

A will

If you do not have children, you may have nieces, nephews or other family members you might consider listing as beneficiaries in your will. You may also decide to leave assets to siblings, close friends or even charitable causes you hold dear, among other options, but you need a will to do so.

Health care directives

Giving someone medical power of attorney is an important part of estate planning. You may want to give a brother, sister or close friend power of attorney. If you may outlive your siblings or close friends, consider giving the responsibility to someone younger, such as an adult niece or nephew.

A financial power of attorney

A financial power of attorney gives someone the legal right to make finance-related decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.