A Last Will and Testament, commonly referred to as a Will, allows one to specify how their assets will be distributed and who will be in charge of distributing those assets as the Executor of their estate upon their passing. This is different from your Agent / digital executor on digital estate planning websites such as www.MemorializeMe.com but often have some of the same responsibilities. The main difference is an executor is a legal entity and an Agent is not.
Here are a few important points to consider including in your will:
- Name an Executor/Agent to handle your estate, including all your digital accounts, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, iTunes
- Choose a guardian for your children
- Set-up a trust for minor children and name someone to manage the trust
- Decide who will inherit your property by naming primary and alternative heirs
- Who will be the beneficiary of your 401(k), IRA. Assets in those accounts will be transferred automatically to your named beneficiaries when you die, even if your will says otherwise
- Specify how you would like your physical remains to be disposed of, by cremation, the type of burial or donated to science.
- Name a caretaker for your pets
A living will is a legal document which allows one to express their wishes to doctors in the event they become incapacitated, and unable to express their wishes. It is often combined with a « health care proxy, » which allows you to designate someone to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated. The living will and the health care proxy together make up what is called an advanced health care directive.
Here are a few important points to consider including in your living will:
- Stating whether you would like life-prolonging treatments such as blood transfusions, CPR, dialysis, surgery or breathing support
- Specify whether you would like artificial feeding or hydration
- If you do NOT wish to prolong life treatments, and wish your death to occur naturally you can choose to have pain relief administer to keep you comfortable until your life ends naturally
It is recommended that we review our will every year to ensure it remains current with our wishes. It is also a good idea to check it after major life changes, including the death of one of your heirs, the birth of a potential new heir, a significant shift in your financial situation such as major adjustments to your investment portfolio, real estate purchases and sales, and changes to the tax code.
Websites such as www.MemorializeMe.com are becoming more and more popular as they allow you to save your important documents such as wills and passwords all-in -one safe place. The website also allows you to easily up-date your documents, and important information. Most importantly it will inform your executor/ agent that these important documents exist at the appropriate time.