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Parma Estate Planning And Probate Blog

Carmakers are starting to protect drivers from themselves

Because drivers cannot seem to be trusted to keep their cellphones from distracting them while operating a vehicle, some carmakers are taking safety measures into their own hands. Volvo, Subaru and others are introducing technology that monitors a driver and determines whether that person is not watching the road. These systems warn a driver or, in some cases, go as far as slowing the car down.

This step to increase road safety may seem intrusive, but carmakers emphasize their systems do not use video to monitor drivers. Instead, they incorporate infrared technology or other means to measure whether a driver is drowsy or a vehicle is veering out of its lane.

Giving someone access to my digital accounts

In addition to the changes in digital assets, there have been changes to how you access your accounts. First, there was a minimum number of letters, then there needed to be a number; now the recommendation is to use a phrase instead of a word.

After you decide who will handle your digital assets after you pass away, you will have to create a plan for how that person will access your accounts.

What happens to my digital assets?

The idea of digital assets still seems abstract. It can be something you purchase or something you create. Until it is printed or saved somewhere other than the cloud, you cannot touch it; yet, it has value and may need a place in your estate plan.

With something as intangible as a digital asset, it can be easy to overlook them, assuming they will “go away” after you pass on. Depending on your assets, however, your digital belongings may need a detailed plan all their own when it comes to preparing your estate.

Who should oversee my digital assets?

Just like any other person involved in your estate plan, the person you choose to oversee your digital assets should be someone you trust. Whether you only have a handful of accounts or a vast array of digital assets, you need someone in charge of taking care of your digital presence. 

Assigning someone to oversee your digital assets may include more than leaving a list of usernames and passwords for your favorite nephew. You should think carefully about what digital accounts you have and who is best suited for understating how to manage the last pieces of business.

What are digital assets?

Not that long ago, when it was time to consider your estate plan, you only had to worry about assets you could touch. While some of your assets may have been in various accounts, those holdings still stood for a tangible amount of dollars that you could withdraw if you wanted.

The world changed, and became more digital. What started as email and online access to your bank account became a portal to some of your most important assets found a home in the mysterious cloud.

Blended families present estate planning complexities

According to the Pew Research Center, marriage in the U.S. is at its lowest rate since 1920. However, remarriage is trending up. In 1960, approximately 13% of all married people had been in a previous marriage; that jumped to 23% by 2013.

Remarriage creates blended families, and blended families produce important factors to consider regarding estate planning. Whether one or both parties in a marriage bring children into the new blended family, it is important to review an existing estate plan to make sure it accomplishes your objectives. If either spouse has no estate plan, it’s time to create one.

Do I need a will if I don’t have children?

You’ve spent your life working hard and buying assets. While you may be aware that you will have to leave them behind after you pass away, it is essential to think about what will happen to those assets, even if you do not have children.

Often when people talk about planning their estate or what is in their will, they are talking about a plan for who will take care of the kids and what they will pass down to their children. Even people who do not have many assets start to think about creating a will so that there is a plan for their children.

Most commonly overlooked issues in car maintenance

Car maintenance is a responsibility put upon a car owner during purchase. If you want to make your car last, you need to perform routine tasks such as changing the oil or adding windshield fluid to prevent faster deterioration.

However, even the most responsible car owners may miss specific car issues. If you let the problem fester for too long, it will have significant damage to your vehicle and leads to severe injuries.

Demystifying the probate process

It is easy to feel out of control when you are going through something unfamiliar. While there are certain parts to probate that follow a specific order, understanding probate can be an important piece to feeling confident about the process.

Even if you have experienced an estate going through probate, it can seem overwhelming. There are many pieces to the puzzle that can make it sound like an intimidating process, especially if you do not know what to expect.

Have a plan for collectibles before you die

In estate administration, a decedent’s assets are gathered, valued and disbursed according to the decedent’s wishes once all debts are paid. It can be a straightforward process if the estate consists of common assets such as bank accounts, routine investments and a home or other real estate.

Administering an estate becomes more complex when it includes art, stamps, antiques, sports memorabilia or another category of collectibles to which a person devotes time and money. Such a collection may have significant monetary value and great emotional value to family members or friends. It is also possible that no beneficiary shares the decedent’s interest in the category of collectible, and the will contained no specific directions to keep the collection intact.

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