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Many wills leave out important details

Many people in New York, much like others across the country, don't write wills until they have children or acquire large assets like homes and businesses. According to financial planning experts, a lot of individuals leave out important details when they eventually create this essential document.

One of the most common mistakes a person can make when writing a will is failing to name alternative beneficiaries to the primary one. Experts say that a backup plan should be in place in case the beneficiary predeceases the testator or is unable to carry out his or her duties due to factors like age or mental capacity. Contact and designation information about trustees and guardians must also be kept current, especially if there are minor children involved.

Other commonly forgotten provisions for wills include details and passwords for digital assets, including websites, domain names and social media accounts, which may need to be updated or closed after the testator's death. Prearrangements for pets are also often overlooked. Experts say a primary and secondary caregiver should be named to look after beloved pets in case something happens to the testator. Finally, experts say that people should make sure to clearly state in their wills how they want their personal property items to be distributed to avoid squabbles among heirs. This step should be taken even if the items are not particularly valuable.

Those who need to draft wills or other estate planning documents could learn more about their options by speaking with an attorney. A lawyer could carefully review his or her clients' needs and help them craft wills or trusts that best fit their specific needs. An attorney could also help clients modify their existing estate plans if their situations change.

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