Don’t Leave These Out of Your Will!
When most people think of creating a will, they think about naming an executor, distributing their financial assets and considering whether or not they need to include any tax planning in their estate plan. But there are a few other things you’ll want to be sure to include, according to an article from Philly.com, “5 Things People Forget to Include in Their Will.”
- Alternate Beneficiaries. A big item in your estate planning should be to include at least one alternative beneficiary, in case the named beneficiary dies before you or isn’t able to claim under the will. Provide an alternative beneficiary to be sure that the property goes where you want it to go.
- Personal Property and Family Heirlooms. Some heirlooms can have a great deal of sentimental value, such as holiday ornaments and handmade linens. You should clearly state which family members get which item. You can add a list in your will. However, this can make it hard to add or delete items. A personal property memorandum is a separate document that lists which friends and family members get what personal property. Some states have laws that say if it’s referenced in the will, it’s legally binding. Even if the personal property memorandum isn’t legally binding, it’s helpful for your heirs to avoid confusion and fighting.
- Digital Assets. What becomes of our digital assets and accounts when we pass away? Take these steps to help your family deal with your digital property:
- Put together a list of all your online accounts, like e-mail, financial accounts, Facebook, and anywhere online where you conduct business;
- List your username and password for each account;
- Include access information for your digital devices (such as smart phones and computers); and
- Be sure that the agent under your durable power of attorney and the personal representative named in your will, have authority to handle your online accounts.
- Beloved Companion Pets. Far too many family pets end up in shelters when their owners die and family members can’t or won’t take them into their homes. In certain states, you can now create a pet trust to leave assets to pay for the care of your pet, and you can name a caretaker in your will. Make sure the person agrees to do this, and name an alternative if, for some reason, that person cannot fulfill their duties. Talk with an estate planning attorney who will be able to help you provide for your furry friends.
Reference: Philly.com (September 2, 2015) “5 Things People Forget to Include in Their Will”