Month: July 2016

What is Essential Estate Planning? A Last Will and Testament? A Revocable Living Trust?

Over half of American adults and approximately 92 percent of adults under the age of 35 have not written a will. Most assume they do not need a will because any assets left behind will automatically be inherited by family members. Although assets may be distributed according to state intestacy laws, the process can be lengthy. With proper estate planning, however, you Designating a Guardian for Your Childrenmay be able to avoid placing any additional emotional or financial burden on your family after your death.

It is a good idea to create a will once you begin acquiring assets or start a family. In addition to designating how your assets will be distributed upon your death, your will designates an executor who will manage them until they are distributed. If you are a parent, you should also select a guardian who is likely to survive until your minor children reach the age of majority in the event both parents pass away.

Other useful estate planning documents include a durable power of attorney and a healthcare proxy. A durable power of attorney will allow your designee to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. Similarly, a healthcare proxy allows a designee to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and cannot do so yourself. By designating a power of attorney or healthcare proxy, you may save your family from being required to take the matter to court in the midst of an unexpected healthcare crisis.

The Legacy You Leave Online

With the new age of digital everything, comes a new problem that anyone that has social profiles needs to plan for. What will happen to your digital accounts when you die?

Here are what some of the major online providers have set up for these circumstances.

Google doesn’t have a specification on who can manage your account, but what they do have is a provision that allows Google to contact whomever you have set up if you do not log in to your account for a specific period of time. You simply add the contacts to your Google profile. You are also given a choice to have all of your accounts deleted after a period of time. As with all things Google, they make it very easy for you to set up and understand. From your Google account, you go into Settings> Account> Inactive. It allows you to set the amount of time you want your account to remain inactive before they notify anyone and you can add email addresses of up to 10 people for them to contact.

Facebook allows you to set up a legacy contact. This person will be the person that maintains control of your account after you die.

Twitter only allows a family member to deactivate your account after you die. They do not give anyone access to your account information or allow someone to take over the account on your behalf.

Instagram does not set up a legacy contact, but they will memorialize your account for you after you die. This means all pictures stay up and your profile stays visible to your followers.

Microsoft has a process in place for this situation. Your family member will need to contact Microsoft and ask about the Next of Kin procedure. After approving and determining that this is your next of kin, Microsoft will send a DVD to the person with all of your account data and documents.

There are no platforms that will allow anyone to maintain complete control over your accounts once you pass. If you want someone to have total access to your accounts, to post on your behalf or manage anything within that account, the best thing to do is give the people or person you wish to do this a list of your passwords for the accounts you want them to have access to.

The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.

Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.

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