When you make an estate plan, it is essential to ensure it covers everything you own. That can avoid the confusion of people discovering unmentioned items when you die.
It’s also essential to regularly review your plan to ensure it reflects your current belongings and wishes.
Some items, such as your house, are easy to remember to include in your plan or make updates for when there are changes. Others are more easily overlooked. For example:
Anything with a beneficiary designation
While you do not want to mention these in your will itself (as it will cause confusion), you do need to ensure the designations are up to date. If someone you named dies, or you divorce or fall out with them, you should remember to remove their name and designate someone else in their place.
Items with more emotional than financial value
That incomplete dining service on which the family has served the Thanksgiving meal every year for the last century may not be worth much at an auction, but it does not mean it is worthless to your family. You’d be surprised how many family falling outs occur over items of little financial but high sentimental value.
Items you bought because of how they looked
If you have a Picasso on your wall, it’s clear you need to take care of it in your estate plan. But what about all those pieces you bought from relative unknowns? If their star has risen, then the value of the artworks they created will also have done so, perhaps far more than you realize. It’s similar for things that might now be considered classic or vintage. Their increased value may mean you need to reassess how you allocate them to avoid upsetting the balance of distribution between your beneficiaries.
Taking guidance to create and update your estate plan will reduce the chance of oversights that create discord among those you leave behind.