Secure Your Legacy: Five Often Overlooked Questions That MUST Be Answered By Your Estate Plan

Creating an estate plan isn’t a “fun” project for most of us. It reminds us that there may come a point when we can no longer care of ourselves and that one day we will pass away. But it needs to be done, and today we are going to cover five especially important questions which must be addressed.

  1. Do you have any potential heirs besides the ones you’ve listed? Having a previously unknown half-sibling show up at a parent’s funeral is not common, but it’s not unusual either. Your estate planner needs to know if a situation like this applies to you because it can impact your estate plan. If you don’t disclose the existence of an extended family member (even those you prefer not to acknowledge), that person could make a claim on your estate, and at great financial and emotional cost to your named heirs. Protect the people you love with an estate plan.
  2. Do you have any genetic material preserved? If you have sperm, eggs, or fertilized embryos “on ice,” your attorney needs to know. Do you want to provide for any descendants conceived after you pass away? And if so, how long do you want to leave that window open?
  3. When do you want to be taken off life support? A signed health care directive provides an opportunity for you to specify your wishes in this regard. Each of us has a particular standard when it comes to quality of life, and your healthcare provider will need to know if and when you want to be taken off life support. An estate plan provides decisions others find painful.
  4. Where are your usernames, passwords, and other login details for online accounts? “Digital life” is a relatively new phenomenon. When you pass away, most email and social media accounts will go dormant, but if you have potentially valuable assets, such as intellectual property, stored online, your beneficiaries will need access to them. They will also require login details for bank accounts whose statements arrive only by email.
  5. Who will take care of your minor children if both parents are deceased? If you do not name a guardian, the court will do it for you. Although the judge will base a decision on what he/she believes to be in the best interests of your children, it’s a choice that you, as the parent, are better equipped to make.  Also, be sure that you name not only long-term guardians for minor children but also short-term guardians who can step in if you (or your long-term guardians) are temporarily unavailable.  A short-term guardian may help to prevent the possibility of minor children ending up in the custody of the state.

Estate plan creation isn’t always a fun process, but it’s extremely important that you take the time to do it right. Your children, grandchildren, and other loved ones will be impacted by your decisions. Please contact us today if you’d like some help with this vital process!


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Written by John Mangan, Esq.

John Mangan, Esq.

I’m an attorney in Palm City, FL, and I serve clients throughout Martin County, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown, as well as those in St. Lucie County, the Treasure Coast, Palm Beach County, and other parts of Florida. The Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., is an innovative firm providing estate planning services to clients in Florida. We focus primarily on wills, trusts, asset protection, guardianship, and probate administration.