Remember These 5 Important Things in Your Will or Trust.
Think you’ve thought of everything? Consider these five things people commonly forget:
1. Digital Assets.
Keep a list with your Will that identifies accounts, bills, email addresses – everything you do online. If you only get paperless statements, your loved ones will not have access to that information if you become incapacitated or you pass away.
When you transfer property to your trust, be sure to contact your homeowner and property insurance company to add the trust as an additional insured. (Actually, it’s the trustee you add, not the trust itself, but they should know how to do it.) That way, if something happens to you, there’s no question that coverage continues.
3. Funeral & Burial Instructions.
The advisability of preplanning your funeral is the subject of a prior post and continues to be highly recommended. But even if you don’t formally preplan or prepay your final arrangements, you
should at least leave instructions with your Will. The instructions should tell your loved ones whether you wish to be cremated; what type of religious ceremony you want; where you wish to be buried; and how much you want spent on your final arrangements. Knowing this from you, rather than having to guess, can save a lot of argument and guilt for your loved ones.
4. Be Careful If You Refinance Your Property.
When you make a trust, your attorney will ensure that your real estate is retitled to the trust. If it’s not, you risk triggering court procedures if you become incapacitated or pass away. Getting it into your trust at the get go is usually not a problem. Where trouble arises is when folks refinance or take an equity loan on their property. Most banks do not want to loan if the property is in a trust. So in that big stack of closing documents, they include a deed to take the property back out of your trust. When the loan process is complete, you go on your way and never give a thought to the title until it’s too late. Banks won’t remind you to put the title back in your trust. If you only remember one thing, it should be to see your lawyer when you get a new loan on your property.
5. Family Heirlooms and Mementos.
The sentimental items are usually the cause of the most friction in a family after a loved one has passed away. Be sure you plan for these things. Leave a list telling everyone to whom certain items should pass (or better yet, write it into your Will or trust!) Don’t forget about items of low economic value if they have high emotional value. Photographs, holiday ornaments, handmade linens, genealogy information, favorite costume jewelry, religious keepsakes – the list could go on.