In the new generation of society, where life is no longer 2.5 children in a suburban home with a white picket fence, green shutters, and a Buick Skylark in the driveway, unfortunately many people’s idea of estate, or what I love to refer to as “oh crap” planning, is still based on 50 year old principles.
Surprised I know what a Buick Skylark is right? No no, not going to bring up the ugly duckling of the 80’s. Here are some questions though. Who has specified in their planning what happens to all of their pictures and documents on Facebook? If something were to happen to you tomorrow, what would happen to your pets? Are you taking care of your elderly parents? What considerations have you put in place for that?
Here are 3 estate planning considerations that should be looked into with your financial professional.
1. Who will take care of your pets?
According to a new BMO Retirement Insitute report, two thirds of Americans have pets, yet just one third has considered them in their estate plan. If you consider them your family member, who will take care of them?
2. What provisions are in place to take care of your elderly parents?
As medicine improves and life expectancy grows, more and more Americans are responsible for caring for their elderly parents. If something happened to you, who will take care of the family members that you are responsible for?
3. Where have you accounted for your digital assets?
Digital assets can be as simple as the photos in your Flickr account and your profile on Facebook, or can be as complex and comprehensive as a self sustaining blog or community. Your typical estate plan simply does not have space on the financial worksheet for digital assets, however they are a large part of people’s lives. Make sure there is a continuity plan in place for those.
Hopefully this gives you some food for thought. If you have a plan in place for these considerations, terrific! If you have a plan in place but nothing for these considerations, you have a good start, but make sure you address these. If you do not have an estate or a contingency plan in place… you are doing a disservice to those that will be mourning your loss to begin with, as those are the ones that will have to try to prove to the State what your intentions were.
If you need guidance, an attorney referral, or someone to listen to you, we are here to help.
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