If you do not have children, it is not possible to follow the standard practice of caring for your spouse and your offspring when considering an estate plan. Exploring your estate planning options when childless requires a bit more thinking and planning, according to The New York Times in "If You Don't Have Children, What Do You Leave Behind?"
People without children still need to have estate plans. Without a plan, everything they have at the time of their death will pass to their closest living relatives in accordance with State laws. For some people, that might be an acceptable outcome. However, most people would prefer choosing where their assets are going to go.
Without children of their own, people have almost unlimited options. They can leave their assets to their nieces and nephews, other favorite family members or friends, or to any charitable cause they want to support. Without children, there is also an increased risk of a potential probate dispute if your plan is not done properly.
An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you on creating a plan that fits your unique circumstances, which may or may not include children.
Reference: New York Times (February 27, 2017) "If You Don't Have Children, What Do You Leave Behind?