Items That People Often Forget to Consider in Their Estate Plans
We previously discussed the importance of being prepared in terms of your estate planning, given the circumstances that the COVID-19 pandemic has put us in. A number of people panicked, wanting to ensure that their estate plans were in place in case anything happened, while others hoped that the pandemic would die down. Instead, the virus appears to be making a second surge, and just in the last few months, more than 140,000 US citizens have died from it. This has led to a resurgence in the need for estate planning
While there are standard items that should be included in your estate plan – an advance directive (living will), health care proxy, power of attorney, a guardianship for any minor children, and possibly a trust – there are also a number of potential add-ons that are often overlooked, but can be helpful to consider, as we discuss below.
Providing a ‘blueprint’ or directory regarding financial matters, the overall estate plan, where documents can be found, what the key assets are, who the agents are, etc. can be very helpful to loved ones. This should not only include a financial breakdown, but sensitive information such as account numbers, information regarding where the accounts are held, URLS, the names and contact information for any specific individuals linked to those accounts, etc. This also often includes location information for important digital data and how to access it. While for some, this might be limited to, for example, how to access pictures stored on Facebook or iCloud, if you own cryptocurrency, that will need to be formally incorporated into your estate plan with the assistance of your attorney. Note that because the directory includes sensitive information, it is also important to implement a safe storage plan for it.
Personal Property Plan
Most wills dictate that personal property will be sold and the proceeds included in with the estate. However, any specific personal property that you want to leave to particular individuals (for example, specific artwork, jewelry, etc.) should be listed and described in a separate memorandum that is mentioned in the will, but is not technically part of the will.
A Plan for Your Pets
Planning for pets in your estate plan is becoming more and more popular. Most people do this via a pet trust, and include such details as who will take care of their pet(s) when they pass away, how much money will be provided to take care of the pet(s), etc. While it is possible to specify who inherits a pet in your will, as well as provide assets to that individual in order to provide some compensation to help care for the pet, there is no guarantee that this person will actually use those assets to take care of your pet.
End of Life Plan
Advance Directives can often be formulaic and lacking in important details that are important to individuals regarding end of life health care decisions made on their behalf. However, you do have the option of articulating any additional details concerning end of life plans with your loved ones either verbally or in writing. If this is of interest to you, make sure that you discuss it with your attorney.
An Ethical Will
Most people have never heard of an “ethical will.” What started as a religious tradition has instead become a way for some to pass on information concerning one’s experiences, life lessons, values, etc. to your loved ones; known as an “ethical will.”
Contact Our Florida Estate Planning Attorneys If You Have Any Questions
If you have any questions or concerns about estate planning, contact the experienced Sarasota wills & probate attorneys at Suncoast Civil Law today to find out how we can help.