You are finally completing your estate plan! You have considered your essential choices and you’re ready to put it all together. But is there anything you may have forgotten? The list below may ensure that you’ve provided for everyone (including your treasured pets).
Contingent Trustees and Beneficiaries
Be sure to allow for the fact that the individual you select to oversee and administer your estate during your incapacity or at your death may not survive you or may not be available to serve. A second, or even third, choice is wise to include when finalizing this vital choice. This also holds true for the guardianship of your children. Back-up preferences are always a smart decision. Remember – you can always change your preferences as long as you are alive and have capacity.
Personal and Sentimental Items
For clarity and peace of mind, and to avoid conflict later, it is a good idea to set forth a list which directs things such as family heirlooms, photos, collectibles, and household effects to your intended beneficiaries. Make sure your estate plan also includes a legal document which assigns these belongings to your Trust, giving your Trustee the authority to manage and distribute them properly.
For some, pets are constant companions, especially in the twilight of life. While your pet cannot be a direct beneficiary of your Trust or Will, there are steps you can take to provide for a pet’s care when you pass away. Talk to your estate planning attorney about a pet trust. (INCLUDE LINK HERE TO PET TRUST BLOG) Drafting a letter with details of your pet’s medical history, eating and exercise habits or any special needs is highly recommended.
In today’s world, our entire lives are conducted online. Taking a few steps to help your successors manage your digital property will save time and headaches later. Devise a list of your online accounts, including log in credentials. They will also need the password for your devices. Consider using technology to manage your many passwords; there are a number of apps and services that will help you manage multiple logins to your accounts.
Check to make sure that your Power of Attorney document includes the specific language which grants your agent the authority to access digital assets.