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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Common Oversights in Estate Planning

Many people think their journey is complete once they’ve completed an estate plan. However, these people, no matter how much planning they’ve done, can still fall victim to common oversights in estate planning. When creating an estate plan, you want to be certain that you’ve incorporated all factors into it.

Even the with the best intentions, you may still forget about some of the most important concepts you should mention in either an estate plan or will. Forgetting to mention these things could dramatically affect the family members or people you are trying to protect. Talking things through with an experienced wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid some of these common pitfalls.

Don’t Forget to Mention Personal Possessions

Personal possessions can include many things, and not all of these items may be worth much money. However, some possessions do have emotional value for those you care about. Therefore, you want to be clear when mentioning what beneficiaries will receive, down to your personal possessions. Lists of this nature can be included in wills, but be sure to update your will if you if you decide to exclude or include other items later on.

Other Beneficiary Possibilities

All estate plans need to mention at least one substitute beneficiary, because your chosen beneficiary may die before you or not be able to claim your property based on the will. When a will mentions a beneficiary that cannot claim your assets, then your property might be treated as if a will never existed. When a will doesn’t exist, then state law decides the people that get your possessions. A substitute beneficiary will help solve this potential problem.

Include Your Pets

While you may treat your pets like your children, they’ll be helpless to assist themselves if you die. The law won’t allow you to leave your items to a pet, but you can dictate pet caretakers in your will, and leave that individual something to assist them with caring for your animal. Even in this case, you’ll want to name a substitute beneficiary to give yourself certainty. Some states allow individuals to set up pet trusts, and California is one of them. If you are able to set up a trust for your pet, then the trust will give the caretaker payments to assist with pet care.

Don’t Overlook Your Digital Assets

Many of us rely on online accounts to do business and pay for things. However, if you don’t mention these things in your will, do you know what might happen to this money upon your death? In the case of digital assets, you can take some precautions to ensure your beneficiaries wind up in charge of your digital accounts. One of the best ways to reign in control of your digital accounts is to make a list of all of your online accounts, from E-mail to financials and social media. When you list your accounts, also detail your username and password. Don’t forget to mention your digital devices as well.

To ensure your property is left to those you choose, talk to the professional wills and trust laywers at Horizonlaw today by calling 925.275.5509.


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