What’s an estate horror show? Imagine that scene of any murder mystery where the family is gathered for the will reading, only to realise they are getting nothing. Maybe you’re not looking to send your loved ones on a clue-filled journey to find your murderer, but you’ll want to make sure everything is going to the right place, regardless. No one wants to think about when you’re gone, but it’s necessary to be prepared to make sure that your loved ones and assets are protected when you’re no longer here to look after them. At the very least, it might stop a hair-pulling catfight at the will-reading over a family heirloom. We’ve seen estate horror shows, and we know how to avoid them. Take a look at our tips to be sure you know where everything is going when planning your estate.
Assemble the team
Every will needs a witness, but scribbling “the house goes to my dog” on a napkin with your pal watching isn’t going to cut it. You might, firstly, want to consider hiring an estate planning solicitor to make sure everything is legal. For your intended family member to not get the house due to some legal red tape is a mistake that is easy to make but can be avoided with a solicitor. You’re also likely to need a financial advisor and a tax professional to help get everything in order.
Document your wishes
Again, writing one wish on a napkin isn’t going to make it come true. You’ll need to think carefully about different aspects of your life that need addressed. It’s not just about where your material goods and assets go, but also how your end of life will play out. Who has power of attorney to make decisions when you can’t? Where will you live out your days if you need care? Who will pay for your funeral? And lots of other important questions that need answered. You’ll have to outline them all in a document or you’re creating a lot of trouble for your next of kin.
The next thing you’ll need to do is set up guardianship for your dependents. These are people in your life that depend on you, like young children, a loved one with special needs or aging parents. This is crucial because when if you don’t assign a guardian, a judge will do it for you when you’re gone. However, make sure you have a talk with them to gain consent from your chosen guardians, so they aren’t in for a shock at the will reading.
Remember digital assets
It’s a digital world, and the reality of the situation is that more and more of our lives are online. So, while you might be wondering who should get the house or the jewels, there are digital assets to consider as well. No, we’re not talking about NFTs – entirely. It’s definitely a factor if you have investments in a Bored Ape picture or a Dogecoin or two, but more we’re talking about your login details and computer hard drive. The joke of assigning someone to wipe your history if you’re gone isn’t entirely a joke. There are photos, files, memories and such all saved on hard disks and social media accounts.
Contact MM Legal today if you need help planning your estate.