Individuals often take great care when developing a comprehensive estate plan. From determining who should act as a health care proxy or guardian for minor children to deciding which assets go to which heirs, people can often get caught up in the big, important decisions while losing sight of critical details.
Here are four things that people should consider when creating an estate plan.
- Don’t forget to include digital assets: For many people digital assets have taken on a greater role in daily life. From collections of downloaded movies or music to cryptocurrencies and an online marketplace such as eBay, these carefully cultivated assets should be distributed as you would a prized book collection.
- Don’t forget to include shipping costs for physical assets: If you have willed a vehicle to your favorite nephew, you should clarify that the estate will pay the cross-country shipping costs to get the vehicle to the beneficiary.
- Don’t forget to include familial loans: While it is not uncommon for family members to shuttle hundreds of dollars back and forth, when a loan is several thousand dollars it must be reflected in the estate plan. Even if your ultimate goal is to forgive the debt, it should be specifically noted in the plan to prevent family disputes over money.
- Don’t forget to communicate with an executor or power of attorney: Whether you want to provide updated information regarding end-of-life decisions or you are changing your selection entirely, you need to communicate these changes in the estate plan and also contact the effected individual(s).
Many people consider a comprehensive estate plan a work in progress. With significant life events (marriage, divorce, birth of a child) and relationship changes (meeting new people, friends falling out of favor), some individuals will revise their plans on a regular basis. Whether you are drafting your estate plan or revising an existing document, remember these tips to reduce future familial disputes.