There are many facets to estate planning. Some important ones include naming the people who will get your assets as well as guardians for your minor children or adult special needs children. You deserve applause for getting started.
However, estate planning takes great care and consideration, so do not rush through this task. If you do, you are bound to overlook certain aspects. It is not uncommon for some people to neglect important issues in their estate plan. What will happen with your pet? What do you plan to do with the $15,000 loan you provided your son to buy a house?
Family loans, digital assets, shipping costs
Among the number of things that often get overlooked in an estate plan include:
- Loans made to family members: Many such “loans” may be gifts, especially since they are not significant. But what if certain family members consistently go to you for their monetary needs to pay for mortgages, car repairs, medical needs, which can add up to several thousand dollars or more? Do you forgive these loans? Do you subtract that amount from their inheritance and redistribute the assets? You need to decide.
- Planning for pets: If you have pets, the animals should be part of your estate plan. Among the things you need to do include choose a caregiver, set aside money to care for the pet and provide special instructions related to the pet’s care, medical and clinical information and likes. A pet is a part of your family.
- Executor changes and updates: Maybe your original executor has died or no longer has the mental or physical capabilities to fulfill this role. Or maybe your executor is your spouse, who you have since divorced. In some instances, the will creator and original executor had a falling out. Please make sure to update this information.
- Digital assets: With more people relying on technology to store items, communicate via social media and deal with finances, you need to address this. You may have assets in online bank accounts, PayPal accounts and via cryptocurrencies. And do not forget photographs, videos and social media accounts through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
- Shipping costs: Money must be set aside to pay for the costs of shipping large physical assets to heirs some who may live thousands of miles away. Items may include furniture, books and artwork.
- Items of sentimental value: Keep in mind some of your items may seem worthless but have a lot of sentimental meaning for heirs. You likely addressed valuable collectibles, but what about the piggie cookie jar that holds great meaning to a daughter? Or certain furniture or toys?
In estate planning, you want to make sure to be as thorough as possible. Just when you think you have covered everything; you suddenly determine that you overlooked certain aspects. Take your time in assembling your estate planning documents. You and your heirs will be happy that you did.