A comprehensive estate plan contains numerous documents covering countless contingencies. With the stress surrounding this level of end-of-life decision-making, it is no wonder that most individuals leave critical elements out of their wills. Certain factors can help you achieve peace of mind while preventing unnecessary future disputes after your passing.
Here are four tips to remember when drafting your will:
- Digital assets: With each passing year, individuals find themselves living a more digital lifestyle. Whether that means curating an online entertainment collection (books, movies, music and video games) or building thousands of dollars in customer rewards perks, these digital assets must be accounted for in a will.
- Ancillary expenses: While much care and attention are given to who gets what when, it might be wise to account for ancillary expenses in a will. For example, if physical property must be shipped across the nation or internationally, it should be stipulated that the estate will absorb this cost. Additionally, travel expenses for heirs who must physically attend the reading of the will or funeral can be paid for.
- Personal loans: While it is not uncommon for friends or family members to loan out money to help with financial hardships, it is wise to mention these loans in the estate plan. When a loan reaches thousands of dollars, even if the goal was to forgive the amount, it is crucial that this is stipulated in the document so there is no confusion and no arguments.
- Sentimental property: While much attention will be paid to large assets such as vacation property, a family business or a prized book collection, it is wise to consider the smaller items. Many individuals will ultimately call a family meeting to find out if there are any items that hold sentimental value. For example, a paperweight might be valuable to a nephew who spent a summer at the house decades ago, but nobody realizes this. Without this information, the paperweight might ultimately be donated out of the estate instead of making its way to someone who would truly cherish it.
With the guidance of a skilled estate planning attorney, you might avoid these oversights and prevent unnecessary disagreements between your surviving loved ones.