Someone started a good thread on Permies on this topic.
I shared in response:
What a great thread! This is a topic I’ve given a lot of thought to, as a single person with no children. A couple years back I had an attorney (who is also a neighbor!) draw up a living will, Last Will & Testament, and power of attorney documents for me. It only cost about US$500 which I felt was a very worthwhile investment.
My lifestyle is very different from that of my siblings. I dropped out of the middle claas many years ago, and my income has been at or well below the poverty level for some years now. I don’t believe in keeping a lot of money around; I don’t invest in Wall Street or other funds etc.
I am a huge believer in the eight forms of capital. The idea that there are so many different kinds of capital other than money, and that they are in many ways much more stable. Examples include buildings, tools, and social capital.
Because my financial path has been very different from that of my siblings, who have regular jobs and 401(k)s and that kind of thing, I felt it was particularly important to try to make sure they don’t get stuck with some kind of financial burden should I die before them. The fact that I live geographically distant from the rest of my family makes this even more important; I don’t want them to have to mess with a lot of administrative stuff from several hundred miles away.
Most of my wealth is in the form of my house, which is mortgage-free. I also have a fractional ownership in a permaculture farm/learning center in another part of the state, and I keep a bit of money in the bank for home repairs and such.
Mainly I try to keep my money flowing in the local economy. Which is beneficial to me and to the local economy, but my siblings are not going to see financial benefit from that.
One thing I haven’t done yet, but plan to do, is write up a letter about my philosophy of finances and life. So that if I die suddenly, they might not agree with my unconventional money choices but they will at least know that I gave respectful thought and loving care to how I spent and used my portion of the inheritance that we got from our parents.