The basis for an estate plan is a will that divides your money and physical assets between your heirs. When some people think about estate planning, they assume that this is all they need to do. Who gets the house? Who gets the family heirlooms? How should they divide the money?
These are all important questions, and this is a big part of estate planning. You clearly do need to have an idea of how you want to distribute these items. But you also want to be careful not to overlook other important areas or to fail to understand how they work within your plan. Let’s take a look at two areas where this is common.
Does your pet need to go in your estate plan?
First and foremost, your pet is property. You need to leave him or her to someone else, just as you would with any other property you own. Allowing your heirs to sort this out can lead to conflicts, or they may not want the pet and send it to the shelter. By talking to them and getting a plan in place, you know the pet will be taken care of.
You may also want to set up a pet trust. Pets are expensive, but you can set money aside for medicine, food, visits to the vet and much more. The trust holds that money to make sure it is used properly.
Can you pass on digital assets?
These days, many people only buy digital assets when purchasing music, movies and things of this nature. You could invest thousands of dollars and not have any physical items to show for it.
Unfortunately, odds are that you cannot pass these digital assets on. A DVD can be given to an heir, but buying a digital movie means buying a license to watch it. You don’t own the movie. You own the license through Amazon or whatever other service you used. This license is canceled when you pass away and you can’t give that digital library to your heirs.
What other questions do you have?
As you can see, estate planning can be complicated. Take the time to ask the right questions and consider your legal options.