For most people, estate plans are a second thought. In a last ditch effort to put something down on paper, people often rush the process and overlook smaller, crucial details of the estate plan. The big ticket items, such as indicating an heir to your property, are typically covered; but what about Fido? What about all of your online banking and computer passwords? It is important to start planning your estate early so that the oft-overlooked items are not left in the dust.
In the United States, the Humane Society estimates that about 400,000 pets/year must find new homes because their owners pass away. Many people do not realize that the most effective way to ensure your pet receives proper care is to set up a formal trust. Any other option relies on other people to honor your wishes and spend money to care for your pets.
Another area which people do not consider involves assisted reproductive technology. Imagine that your husband passed away; but prior, he had his sperm frozen and transferred to you upon death. You conceive a child with the frozen sperm. How will the child factor into your estate plan? This very scenario will be considered by the Utah Supreme Court. The Social Security Administration denied children’s and mother’s insurance benefits to the mother and child and argued that her husband never intended to father the child and they should not, therefore, receive any benefits. This case would not be where it is has the husband provided for this scenario in his estate plan. With technology steadily changing how our families are created, it’s important that all these scenarios are addressed in estate planning.
Now is never too early to consult an experienced estate planning attorney. If you are interested in learning more about individual estate planning or creating a comprehensive plan so your family members are well-prepared to handle your estate, contact the San Jose estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri, LLP. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.