Ohio residents who are going through the estate planning process should keep three potential problems in mind. Outdated plans, beneficiary designations gone wrong and a lack of digital information are all issues that can cause court-bound family feuds, conflict and emotional distress.
Outdated estate plans are among the biggest issues that surviving family members face. For example, if an estate plan is not updated in the wake of a divorce, the emotional upheaval that follows while the family is dividing assets can result in serious complications. There have even been cases where a deceased person accidentally left his or her assets to an ex-spouse.
Another potential problem that estate planners should keep in mind is that they need to name beneficiaries for accounts such as retirement and insurance policies. When heirs accidentally overlap, family feuds are probable. Specific beneficiaries should be named whenever possible.
The last thing estate planners should remember in the digital age is that their families may struggle to access their online accounts. Families may even be locked out of bank and brokerage accounts. Therefore, it is important for anyone planning an estate to create a roster that lists all usernames and passwords. These rosters are commonly kept in online storage or bank safety deposit boxes. Access to a roster will make it possible for a family to access all the deceased person’s accounts.
An attorney with experience in wills and trusts may be able to help a client through the estate planning process. Because estate planning can cause emotional distress and family conflicts, having an attorney could help cut back on in-fighting and misunderstandings. An estate plan that has been worked on by an attorney is also less likely to have gaps and holes that may cause feuds.