Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for your family and loved ones. In the case of an unexpected death, your assets will go to the intended beneficiaries, and whether your passing is expected or not, a will can help you avoid probate or greatly shorten the time your estate will be in the probate process.
1. Naming a Second Beneficiary
Having an alternate beneficiary becomes necessary should the primary beneficiary pass-away, become too ill, or is shown to have the inability to properly manage the estate’s assets. Without a secondary beneficiary, division of the assets will fall to the state.
2. Guardian Designations
Designating who will care for your children may be unpleasant to think about, but becomes especially important should both parents, or a single parent suddenly pass. Choosing a responsible, loving, and trustworthy guardian for children who are minors will allow you to have peace of mind knowing your children will be taken care of when you’re gone.
If you have a pet, they’re like another member of your family. Although you cannot leave assets or property directly to a pet; including their care in your will would ensure they won’t end up in a shelter upon your passing. Some people also include a small sum of money for the caretaker as well to help cover future food, veterinary, and other pet-related expenses. Don’t forget to include a secondary caretaker in the event the primary is unable to care for your pet.
4. Digital Assets
You likely own digital assets such as websites or domains, online accounts and subscriptions, cryptocurrency, or family photos stored in the cloud. Whether or not your online assets have monetary value or are mostly sentimental, don’t forget to list these digital assets in your will including how to access and login information.
5. Family Heirlooms
Items that have been in the family for a long time like photographs, furniture, or ornaments might not have a high monetary value, but certainly hold a lot of emotional value. Not designating who will receive these items is a common cause of family friction. Listing heirlooms or personal items in the will protects your family from drama during an emotionally sensitive time.
6. Business Assets
Assets and property associated with a business are treated separately from personal assets. If you will leave behind any business assets, remember to specify how you would like the business and its assets to be handled.
7. Forgiving debts others owe you
If someone owes you a debt, whatever for, you may wish to cancel the debt they owe you upon your death, freeing them and their survivors from having to repay the debt. This is certainly not required but a common generosity to consider.
There are many more essential items to consider and include in your will, but it’s important not to forget the little things. Talking to experts like Orbit Wills will help make sure your estate is in good hands upon your passing and no asset slips through the cracks.