Most people focus heavily on their retirement accounts, investment funds, life insurance policies and real property when planning their estate, paying little attention to personal property such as family heirlooms, jewelry, art and collections.
If you are like most parents, you probably plan to leave a fair share of assets to each of your children when you pass. But it might be more complicated than just dividing your assets equally among your kids, because fair doesn’t always mean equal when it comes to estate planning.
The fact that the heirs of the late Robin Williams are now battling over their inheritances in court is no laughing matter. As the Hartford Courant pointed out in a recent article, while Williams’ estate plan was tax efficient, it may have been lacking in other areas.
While most baby boomers are eager to make sure their retirement plans are in order, USA TODAY recently reported that too few are accounting for an estate plan, which can result in stress and conflict for surviving family members.
Effective estate planning is just as important, if not more important, for people without children as it is for people with children.
During the estate planning process, most people focus primarily on making sure their children are provided for, and they give little thought to their digital accounts. But people often underestimate just how much of their lives take place online these days.
There is a common misconception that just having a will in place will be sufficient to protect a person's wishes and assets. People assume that they can draw up a will, expect that the terms will be carried out as specified and never have to worry about any potential disputes.
For years, distraught family members were angered and hurt over Facebook’s unwillingness to hand over the passwords of accounts belonging to members who had passed away. Instead, Facebook had the policy to put an automatic freeze on a member’s account after learning that the member had died.
If you are someone with significant assets to pass down to your children or grandchildren, you might be reluctant to talk to your heirs about the inheritances they will be receiving.
Many people mistakenly believe that a will is all they need in their estate plan. However, there are many other issues that need to be addressed in order to make sure that you maximize the assets that you will pass down to your chosen beneficiaries.