A financial overview
It's important to list all of your assets in your estate plan (will), including debts and insurance policies. You should also provide a list of all debts (including mortgages), investments, and any other assets you have (such as jewelry or cars). Include your direct spouse on the bank accounts that hold money destined for your family so that there is no delay in paying the bills. This can help ensure that they are able to access those funds after you pass away or if there is no will written at all!
Digital assets are more than just your email accounts. They include social media accounts, online banking, online shopping, and online storage. If you have digital assets that need to be managed after your death, it’s important to include them in your will so they can be passed on as intended.
Pet directory (reference)
While a pet directory forms part of your legal will it may take up to several weeks before a death certificate is available which is a prerequisite for retrieving any stored documents from wills.com in the event that the testator (will creator) did not keep a hard copy around. This is why it's smart to leave your final letter of instructions laying around with clear indications what you want to happen to your pets and how to care for them. In the letter you will want to include:
List all of your pets and their current location.
Name the person you'd like to be responsible for taking care of your pet(s) if they are no longer in your custody. (This should be a trusted friend or family member.)
Include contact information for both this person and a veterinarian who can help with any needs that arise.
Location of pet passport, vaccine documentation, etc,
An End-of-Life Plan
An end-of-life plan is a document that outlines the final wishes for your loved ones if you were to pass away. It should contain information about funeral arrangements, who will be in charge of handling your estate, and any other specific instructions you want to be carried out after your death.
Why do we need end-of-life plans? For one thing, it ensures that everyone knows how things work in case anything happens unexpectedly; it's also helpful to have this information written down so there are no miscommunications about what should happen next.
Creating an end-of-life plan doesn't have to take long—just decide what details are important enough for inclusion before writing everything down on paper (or digitally). Your lawyer will help with this process as well! Below is an example of what an end-of-life plan might look like:
[YOUR NAME] has chosen [NAME OF PERSON WHO WILL BE IN CHARGE OF CREMATION] as executor of his/her estate. He/she has also selected [NAME OF FUNERAL HOME] as burial facility and funeral home director; they have agreed not charge any fees beyond their normal expenses allowed by law unless otherwise stated hereinafter or elsewhere within these documents when applicable . . .
A personal Letter to family and loved ones
Including a final personal to your loved ones is a nice detail that will be greatly appreciated by those who know and love you best. In comparison to your will, in this final letter, you can share not just your things but instead how you feel and what your loved ones mean to you. For example:
Wisdom is the greatest gift you will ever leave to your loved ones. What are some of the things that you learned in life that you'd like to share with the ones that will stay behind?
You may want to include some final instructions in this letter like the diet your pet likes to eat or how often the plants need water or even where they should go looking for secret hidden treasure buried somewhere in a forest…
A master directory is a list of all your assets, including physical property and financial accounts. This list should include the contact information for your beneficiaries, executor, and attorney. It should be updated regularly as you acquire more assets or make changes to the estate plan.
A master directory is also helpful for deciding how much money each beneficiary will receive from your estate. For example: If one child has been living with you in your home for years, it might make sense for him or her to receive more than another child who hasn't been living in the home but has had other significant expenses related to providing care for an elderly parent.
Everyone needs a will, and these items should be kept in mind when creating one.
A will is a legal document that outlines how you want all your earthly possessions distributed when you eventually pass away. It can also be used to appoint guardians for your children or to leave a gift for a charity. Wills are simple documents and can be easily done online on wills.com.
A trust is a complex legal structure designed to protect assets such as stock, property or companies generationally, so it is best to get help from a lawyer when creating one. When your estate is worth less than $10 million USD it is not subject to inheritance tax
It’s never too early to start thinking about writing a will and putting your estate plan together. You can work on it bit by bit, adding sections as you think of them. The important thing is that you take the time now so your loved ones don’t have to worry about it later.