When drafting estate plans, there are some obvious items to go over. The family home, bank accounts and guardianship of minor children often top the list of considerations. But, there are a few things that California planners commonly miss in their first attempt at estate planning. These things that may not be top-of-mind, but are certainly worth thinking about in the estate planning process.
Pets are often considered part of the family, so it’s worth planning for them in a will. Many pet owners opt to set up a pet trust, which sets aside funds to cover the pet’s care after they pass along. It is also important to designate someone to act as the pet’s caretaker in case they are left behind. This could be a long-term arrangement or a short-term commitment to find the pet a home.
Online accounts can hold a great deal of information and, in some cases, financial value. The possibilities are almost endless: an account where you collect travel points, an email account storing important correspondence, a website, a social media account, a phone with photos or information on it, the list goes on. An executor will need to know how to access technology and accounts, and just as importantly, what to do with them. Making a detailed plan that includes a directory of all items and accounts and plans for each is key to a modern estate plan.
End-of-life care and funeral requests
Directives for end-of-life care and funeral plans can go well beyond the simple decision of whether to resuscitate. Additional background can be helpful to give those making decisions a deeper understanding of one’s personal philosophy and preferences in a variety of circumstances. It can be comforting to have this information, and equally comforting to have an idea of what a passed loved one would want in terms of a funeral or burial, if anything. Putting these preferences in writing is a good idea.
Help is available to build a complete and detailed estate plan
Overall, there are many things to consider when estate planning. While it can seem a bit overwhelming at first, the good news is that there are professionals available who can help ensure issues like these are not forgotten in the process, and that plans are soundly recorded. A conversation with a California estate planning lawyer can be a great first step.