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What not to leave out of a will

Wills are valuable estate planning tools that can be used to dictate how people's assets should be handled after they have passed away. However, New York residents should take care to avoid leaving out certain elements when they create their wills.

Including alternate beneficiaries in a will can help to prevent conflict and confusion in the event that the primary beneficiary dies before the testator. Careful thought should also be given to the proposed beneficiaries' abilities to inherit and manage the assets they may receive. A person's mental competency and his or her age should be factors in considering whether he or she is a good beneficiary candidate.

The websites, online accounts, domain names and any other types of digital assets owned by an individual may have economic value. How these assets are to be handled should be included in a will along with any necessary login information. For people who have pets, provisions regarding who should have guardianship of the pet should be included in the will. Assets that are to be used for the care of the pet can also be assigned in the will.

A written personal property memorandum that is attached to a will can help prevent arguments that could arise as surviving family members try to decide who should keep certain items of a deceased loved one's estate. The document allows the testator to specify what should happen with items of sentimental value, such as costume jewelry, or those of significant economic value, such as an expensive vehicle.

An attorney who has estate planning experience may work to ensure that a client's will is properly drafted so that there are no uncertainties about the client's wishes. Other documents might be considered as well, such as financial and health care powers of attorney.

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