When drafting a will or setting up a trust, most people understand that these estate planning tools will explain how they want their money, property and other assets distributed when they die, hopefully, many years from now.
Estate plans also name guardians for young children when their parents die, and designate representatives to make financial or medical decisions if people are too sick or injured to make them themselves. But there are other items that many don’t consider.
Three overlooked components to add to your will
Crafting an estate plan can be a sobering experience as none of us wants to think about our mortality, and some may ignore items they should include. Here are some you may have overlooked:
- Caring for pets: Choose a guardian for a beloved dog, cat or other pet and add funds to take care of them. Pets are not free, and care can run $500 to $1,000 each year, or more if the animal has special medical or dietary needs.
- Digital assets: More people are appointing digital executors to manage social media accounts, online gaming sites, small online businesses or other important digital holdings. Make sure your executor has all the passwords and instructions on how you want them managed or shut down.
- Charitable legacy: Including gifts to nonprofits, religious organizations, schools and other groups close to your heart after your loved ones are taken care of is crucial to many people. You can also direct family members to donate part of their inheritance, which can bring tax benefits.
Review your plan frequently
Despite including these often-forgotten items in your will, continue to update your estate plan when major life events happen, such as deaths, marriages, births, retirements and changes to your employment. With the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, you can make sure all your assets are distributed according to your wishes.