Estate planning may start with major financial assets. Bank accounts. Investment portfolios. Cryptocurrency. Expensive tangible assets, like real estate. These are some of the major areas that you likely want to address as you decide how you will transfer the assets that you own down to your beneficiaries in the next generation.
This is a good place to start, but be sure you remember that estate planning can go far beyond these financial assets. Here are just two other areas you may need to consider.
Addressing sentimental items
First of all, many estate disputes center around items that have sentimental value, even if they don’t have financial value. If you have multiple direct heirs, these siblings may all disagree over who gets specific items.
If you leave these items out of your will because they aren’t worth very much financially, children can get into long-term disputes and may never find a satisfactory resolution. But if you use your will to divide up these sentimental items, it can make things go more smoothly – especially if you talk to your beneficiaries in advance.
Making medical decisions
Next, estate planning can help you make medical decisions. You could use a living will and list out the different treatments that you do not want to get – similar to a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. You could also use a medical power of attorney to choose an agent. If you are incapacitated, this agent is then authorized to help you make medical decisions. Either way, this portion of your estate plan is focused on health and not assets.
These are just two areas to consider, but the reality is that estate planning can be very complex. Carefully consider all of the steps you need to take.