Ancient civilizations believed that when you died, you needed to take things with you for the journey ahead. Nowadays, you probably prefer to leave everything you have for the people that survive you.
Yet, leaving things without specifying what you want to happen to them can create problems. It could lead to disputes over ownership and unnecessary taxation. Therefore, you need to account for everything you own when you make your estate plan.
Which assets do people frequently forget about when estate planning?
When you make your estate plan, you are unlikely to forget the big items, such as your house, retirement plan or life insurance policy. Yet smaller items can matter more than you think. Here are some frequently overlooked items:
- Your collections: Whether you collect comic books, paintings, or Napa valley wines, these items can have significant sentimental and financial value. Balancing the two values can be challenging. For example, your son might prefer beer to wine until he learns how much the bottles you are leaving to his sister are worth.
- Your clothes and jewelry: Your kids probably do not want the shovel that you use for gardening, but they might be interested in the WW2 bomber jacket your grandfather left you or your wife’s selection of rings.
- Funds you have not looked at for years: You probably have bits of money here and there in bank accounts you no longer use or small investments that you once made. Perhaps you no longer remember how to access them. Re-establishing access and withdrawing the money or including the accounts in your estate plan ensures that the funds do not go to waste.
An experienced third party can look over your list of assets and spot anything you might have missed. They can then help you transfer these to the people you choose in an efficient way.