Things People Often Forget To Include in Their Estate Plan

4 Things People Often Forget To Include in Their Estate Plan

When most people think about planning their estates, their minds tend to gravitate toward the assets, such as property, finances, and heirlooms. In fact, ensuring financial security in retirement is always a top priority. Yet, there are several things people often forget to include in their estate plans. While varied and typically personal in nature, these elements reflect an individual’s values and vision for the future, ensuring the honoring of their legacy and the security of their family’s well-being. The following are some additional factors to keep in mind.

Digital Assets

In our increasingly digital world, many of us have personal and professional transactional data spread across various online platforms. Therefore, it’s important to include a comprehensive list of your digital assets, such as email accounts, cloud storage, social media profiles, and cryptocurrencies, along with information on how to access and manage them. Failure to plan for these assets can lead to complications for your loved ones in accessing, preserving, or closing them after you’re gone. Your estate plan should outline clear directives on what to do with each digital asset, including any sentimental or professional documents that might be online, and who should manage them.

Guardianship Arrangements

For parents of minor children, choosing a guardian is a crucial decision that should be explicitly outlined in your estate plan. In the absence of a clear indication, the courts will decide who should care for your children. Be sure to consult loved ones and make this decision in the best interest of your child’s well-being. Additionally, you can name a short-term or temporary guardian, ensuring there is a plan in place in the immediate aftermath of your passing.

Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney

Other things that people often forget to include in their estate plans are healthcare directives and powers of attorney. Should you become unable to make your own healthcare decisions, having a healthcare directive ensures that others know about your medical treatment preferences. This document should also include a durable power of attorney for healthcare, which designates an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf. It’s critical to discuss these choices with your legal and healthcare teams to ensure everyone is aware and in agreement with your directives.

Letter of Instruction

A less formal but deeply personal aspect of your estate plan is a letter of instruction. This is a document that lets you leave your loved ones detailed information that may not be appropriate for a will, allowing them to understand your wishes fully. In this letter, you might include reasons for specific decisions in your estate plan, personal messages, or instructions on less formal matters. It can be a valuable tool for giving your family guidance and comfort during a difficult time.

Remember, estate planning is not just about money; it’s about ensuring your values and commitments continue even after you’re gone. These often-overlooked facets are just as essential to a comprehensive estate plan as your financial records. Consult an estate planning lawyer to make sure your wishes are clearly documented. Your family will thank you for the care and consideration you put into your estate plan.

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