Three Overlooked Elements of Estate Planning

Three Overlooked Elements of Estate Planning

Estate planning can be a daunting prospect for Americans – and most of the time, it truly is. A 2015 study has revealed that only 34% of Americans have drafted a will. More importantly, few among them have gone beyond that, resulting in their estate planning being incomplete and lacking crucial elements. That is a dangerous situation – especially since estate planning affects multiple areas of life, not merely distributing your assets.

Estate Planning is Not Just in Case of Death
Although the last will is a mortis causa type of legal instrument (meaning it comes into effect after you die), planning your estate also includes accounting for cases where you are unable to make your own decisions, such as mental illness, coma, or other debilitating conditions. As any estate planning lawyer will tell you, medical power of attorney and healthcare directives are crucial elements of estate planning. These allow you to inform others what actions should be taken in case of emergencies, hospitalization – and which should be avoided. In short, you can remain in control of your life.

You Can Protect the Unseen as Well
The proliferation of technology and explosive growth of the Internet have created new challenges for everyone. One of the most important ones concerns intellectual property and its protection. If you are a graphic designer, writer, or otherwise publish content, the question of your copyright and associated rights will have to be taken into account in estate planning. A detailed estate plan will allow you to ensure that the rights stay with the person you want them to stay with, rather than leave their fate to pure chance.

Your Data Matters
Of course, even if you simply enjoy the breadth of content available to the public and have not published anything of your own, digital estate planning is still necessary. Consider the dozens of accounts you possess – email, online banking, professional sharing tools, online file storage, and many more – and imagine what would happen if one day you would be unable to access any of them. Digital estate planning encompasses accounting for this eventuality and ensuring that your login data remains safely and securely stored, so that nothing disappears – often causing no end of trouble for heirs or your chosen attorneys.

In Summary
There are many more elements of estate planning that require your attention. The most simple and effective way to tackle all of these is to hire a professional estate planning lawyer and work with them to create a plan that will save money, time, and effort for everyone. An ounce of prevention, a pound of cure.

To tackle the challenges of estate planning, probate, and other crucial elements of your legal life, contact Orlowsky and Wilson. We are here to help.

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