wills and estate planning

Wills: Five reasons you need a will

 

Do you think that wills are only for the wealthy? Or do you believe that your trust, jointly owned property, or insurance with named beneficiaries takes care of everything? Think again. Wills are necessary for everyone. Here are five reasons why.

1. You decide who gets your prized bottle cap collection…

…and every other item that may have value and meaning for others. You also decide who gets your baseball card collection and the brooch that has been handed down in your family for generations. None of your possessions may have a high financial value. On the other hand, they may hold a huge emotional value. It allows you to send your love from beyond the grave by carefully considering the meaning that each has for you and for your intended recipient.

2. Save disagreements among your loved ones.

The aftermath of a death is a very emotional time. People who are grieving often cast their feelings on to the objects the deceased owned. Making a will is one of the most loving things you can do for those you will leave behind.

3. Ensure that your minor children feel more secure.

You want the new guardians for your children to be prepared to care for them immediately. A failure to make your decision clear and legally known can lead to confusion among the family. It will surely add to your children’s emotional burden. While naming a guardian cannot guarantee that there will be no challenges, it is a powerful tool for ensuring your children’s happiness. One step that will help, beyond naming guardians in the will, is letting your family and close friends know who you have named.

4. Name someone to handle the inherited finances for someone who needs help in that area.

Many people try to alleviate the need for a will by naming beneficiaries for insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial instruments. Yet, if any of your named beneficiaries need help with handling the inheritance, a will can make a huge difference. It can mean the difference between a comfortable future and a wasted inheritance.

5.  Protect your estate from theft by naming an executor.

Every year identity thieves steal the identities of more than 2.5 million deceased persons. They open credit card accounts, obtain loans and services. Without the authority of a will, thieves may steal your identity and deplete your estate before your beneficiaries can access your accounts.

Three of our attorneys are happy to help you with your will and estate plan. Feel free to contact them today.

Norman Short

Robert Garrison

Sylvia Seybold

Digital estate planning

What are your electronics, blog, and online photos worth?
digital estate planning

You may have worked with an estate planning attorney to carefully plan your family’s financial future. But did you include your digital assets in that plan. The average adult believes their electronics, socially shared content and blog are worth about $50,000. For many of us the most valuable asset is irreplaceable. Our photos and memories that we share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Other intellectual property may have a market value, a blog with a good following, for instance. Have you made plans for what happens to those when you die?

You probably need to redefine the role of your executor because standard wills and trusts do not address digital accounts.  The laborious process that Facebook requires for family members to get access to the account of a deceased loved one adds significant stress to an already overwhelming experience. Because most social accounts restrict access to the account holder and exclude even an executor without explicit written authorization, it is wise to amend your clause on the executor in your will or estate plan to grant permission.

Digital estate planning for financial information

Do you access your bank and investment accounts online? In addition, your insurance and other key documents may only exist in digital form. Your executor needs easy access to this information to settle your estate and close down accounts. We can’t overemphasize the importance of quickly accessing accounts. The chances of identity theft increase upon death.

Updating your digital estate plan

Do you already have an estate plan drawn up by an experienced estate planning attorney? Then, it will just take a quick meeting with an attorney knowledgeable with digital estate planning to eliminate social media problems for your heirs. At GSJones Law Group, we have three experienced estate planning attorneys. They can quickly add digital estate planning to your existing estate plan. And, if you have not gotten around to estate planning, there is no time like the present.

Norman Short

Bob Garrison

Sylvia Seybold