One of the smartest things you can do for your assets, estate, and your family is make a will. This ensures that you still take care of your family and loved ones even after you are gone and that your assets are divided up and someone will care for them. However, not everything should be put into a will. In some cases, it is possible to over-detail a will and place items in it that you do not have the authority to give out after you pass away. So, before starting on writing your will, first determine what is and is not yours to put in it. One of the best ways you can do this is by sitting down with a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA.
Although you are not required to retain a lawyer when you write a will to make it legal, they can be a great asset when it comes to determining what is appropriate to place in your will and what you should leave out. For a quick checklist of items to leave out of your will, read below.
Although you may have certain instructions regarding the flower arrangements, the music, or the people who speak at your funeral, in many instances a court will not even start settling your estate until after your funeral. This can become complicated when your funeral is one of the first things to happen after someone passes away. This means that your funeral wishes could go completely unnoticed. Instead, speak with your executor or your loved ones, and even write up a separate document outlining how you would like your funeral to proceed.
While a will is a place for you to specify what you want to happen to your estate, there are certain types of property that have rules governing them completely independent of your will, as a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA can explain. These are:
Leaving gifts to beneficiaries is a nice way of showing your loved ones how you cared for them. However, when you leave a loved one a gift with strict conditions—such as, they can only get this gift if they divorce their spouse or change religions—a court will not uphold those types of specifications.
Digital assets are one of the most overlooked assets. As a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA can attest. Many people use online services to store important documents and other information. The old way of keeping hard copies in file cabinets is gone. You may also have multiple social media accounts and email accounts. These items are all considered digital assets. If they are important to you, include them in your estate plan.
There may be other items that are considered digital assets. A living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA can help determine what those assets. Periodic updates are needed. Technology rules are ever-evolving. It is important to consult a seasoned estate attorney. We keep versed in current estate planning laws.
Laws Differ as your Move.
Some states have passed laws which address how these assets should be handled. These include granting estate representatives the authority to access accounts. Consider including your email, social media, or other online and digital asset accounts. More and more people choose to conduct their business online. Examples include paying bills, banking, etc. When financial work is online executors have difficulty performing their fiduciary duties. If they cannot access any of the online information, they cannot easily secure assets and statements. After reviewing your situation, our living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA may suggest creating a list of all online accounts. We can then give this to your executor at death.
On a more personal, not financial, level, it is also important for families and loved ones to be able to access family photos and videos. These are often stored online. Otherwise lost forever are precious mementos. Making sure that you have an estate plan in place which includes instructions for your digital assets.
Writing a will can become complicated. Especially if you are not sure what is or isn’t appropriate to put in it. Therefore, it can be incredibly beneficial to have a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA by your side. Ensure you leave nothing out and that you do not put anything in that should not be there. For more information, call a Philadelphia, PA living will lawyer at Klenk Law now.
Peter Klenk is the founding member of Klenk Law, a seven attorney boutique estate planning law firm. We serve clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and Florida. Peter Klenk received his Masters in Taxation LL.M. from NYU Law School and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He served his country in the Navy JAGC during Desert Storm. Easy to talk to, feel free to call Peter for an appointment. We will make the process as easy as possible!
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