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You’re Worth So Much More Than Your Assets

Estate Planning is Much More than Financial Assets

For the most part, estate planning is about how we wish to see your assets divided among your beneficiaries. And by having a legally valid estate & inheritance plan in place, you can effectively minimize time, costs, and the administrative headaches of probate. In essence, the purpose of estate planning has always been to optimize your estate and ease the process for the surviving family.

But there is so much more to estate & inheritance planning. People consider the hard assets (e.g., money and assets) they’ll leave behind but often fail to consider the opportunity to impart moral and sentimental value to loved ones left behind.  

Anyone who has received a sentimental item from a loved one who has since passed on a loved one has experienced that the bequeath includes much more than the value assigned to the material possessions inherited.

And many of us have witnessed families at odds over who gets the favorite golf club, the old piano, or another such family “heirloom”–often just as important to family members as a hard financial asset. Whether it’s grandma’s wedding dress or Dad’s coffee mug, these items may be of little tangible value, but they embody our favorite childhood memories.

The OneDigitalTrust estate & inheritance planning platform is designed to specifically accommodate the distribution of such items of high emotional value but low financial value in a manner that sidesteps family strife. This makes it so much easier for an Executor to distribute these items guided by wishes which have been declared in writing.  

Take some time and think about the cornerstones of your family life. Think about your legacy, and be rest assured that you have personal items which have the capacity to provide a lifetime of emotional value to a beloved family member or friend. 

Value & Life Learnings are Priceless 

A lifetime’s worth of lessons learned, in childhood, young adulthood, and as an aging family elder are impossible to encapsulate into an estate planning platform that merely produces legal documents. Our cultural heritage, family values, what inspires us, and our successes and failures, are all so intertwined in how we’ve come to know ourselves. Family members and mentors impact us in ways both known and unknown.

The highs and lows of our life stories comprise a core part of our legacy. They carry through everything you’ve instilled in those we leave behind. But it’s so easy to leave part of the story untold. We can make these life lessons part of what we bequeath to our descendants. Inevitably, there is much we didn’t say, couldn’t say, or forgot to say. We can tell our story, share our insights, and deepen our family’s understanding of all that is our legacy.

And on the flip side of the experiential legacy are items of sentimental value. Prior planning and written declaration of who is to inherit diaries, photographs or videos, military medals, and other memorabilia of significance to family members will be a kindness that can avert hurt feelings and misunderstandings down the road.

Although some items may seem inconsequential to others, these tangible links have weight and symbolism; they’re an important piece of you that your family will want to hold on to. Whether it’s Grandad’s purple heart or Mom’s military uniform, these items can help those you care about feel comforted and connected long after you’re gone.

So while traditional estate planning often overlooks emotional attachment to objects or the significance of shared family values and life events — the OneDigitalTrust platform offers unique tools and assistance to make such actions official. 

Your Family Would Love to Learn More About You

History usually repeats itself. And, in many ways, we’re a product of those who came before. Within each of us is a desire to strive for better, to ask more of ourselves and deliver on it. Most people spend their lives either making up for their families’ shortcomings or trying to do right by their legacy.

Your family wants to hear, in your own words, what really matters to you in life. What were your parents like when you were young? How did you struggle? What controversial decisions did you make but still stand by? And out of everything you know now, what do you especially wish you knew back then?

 

An All-Digital Estate Planning Platform Makes this Easier

While wealth acquired through wise investments or a rewarding career may have made us financially stable, we are worth more than appears on the balance sheet. In fact, to the people that count, your life story is the most valuable part of your estate plan. Unfortunately, most of us live our lives without knowing what drove our parents and grandparents and how they became the people we knew and loved. And there are a few effective estate & inheritance planning solutions to guide us in these sensitive and delicate matters.

Fortunately, One Digital Trust offers a service to create a digital archive of your life history. On their estate planning platform, you can include precious sentimental items, the tangible and the intangible. Create a comprehensive estate plan that takes care of everything you cherish. You can read our blog on “How to Bequeath Sentimental Items” for more information.

Collecting and cataloging information on your entire portfolio can be time- and labor-intensive. To have your comprehensive record of personal information, assets, and legacy stored with bank-grade legal and digital security means your estate is easily accessible for decades.

So while money is always helpful for your beneficiaries, preserving your memories and words of wisdom have an extraordinary capacity to soothe and encourage all those who knew you and guide the many generations yet to come.

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Why Estate Planning can be a great New Year Resolution

‘Tis the Season for Estate Planning

The New Year usually offers up a batch of resolutions to help us change our ways and set new goals. We look forward to the new year ahead, excited at the prospect of offering fresh energy and a new approach–of bringing an improved version of ourselves into the future.

So, our resolutions often start with the most common actionable goals. We commit to eating healthier, exercising more, and organizing our home office. But there may be other highly impactful goals to be set and achieved?

There can’t be a better New Year’s resolution to make–and keep–than estate planning. And with just a little focus and application you can provide immeasurable comfort and security for your family. Families come together during the holidays as an expression of love and caring. Any discussion about an estate plan is also an expression of love, protection and caring for the surviving family left behind. When brought up with tact and sensitivity, it can be one of the best things to accomplish this holiday season – to ensure that the living legacy of a loved one has been safeguarded. Unfortunately, a majority of U.S. adults do not have a plan. With the advent of web-based platforms like OneDigitalTrust that both simplify the process and make it truly affordable, there is no excuse for anyone not to have a legally valid estate & inheritance plan in place.

And what could be better than this holiday season to show love.

Sometimes, just the idea of estate planning can raise all sorts of questions and bring up a slew of conflicting emotions, many of which boil down to facing some challenging realities. But we know that the advantages will far outweigh the disadvantages. And therein lies the big payoff. Your satisfaction in securing your family’s financial future–to the full extent of your abilities and resources–is worth any temporary discomfort.

Proper estate planning will minimize the legal interventions, translating directly to time and money saved. Make this start of the new year the time you finally meet with your family and discuss future contingencies. Let them know you’re putting a plan together to protect them if you’re not there to help ensure their welfare.

Estate Planning is Not as Daunting as You Think

When it comes to making complicated financial decisions, especially those that involve some hard calls, many of us procrastinate and stall. Let us provide some simple tools to help you turn this seemingly daunting task into easy-to-follow, manageable steps. Our blog titled “5 Reasons Why People Fail to do any Estate Planning” provides good insight why so many have failed to plan for this eventuality. 

Security Matters–New Year’s Day and Every Other Day

We all wish for continued good fortune and health for ourselves and our families. Yet, we understand that life is nothing if not uncertain. And we know that, in the end, we will rest easier if our family’s financial future is secure. Did you know that most Americans do not have a will or estate plan? So what happens to your family if you’re not here to make tomorrow’s decisions? This uncertainty is not what you want for your loved ones. See our blog  on talking to aging parents about estate planning for  some helpful guidance to familiarize you with the process and get you started.

Estate Planning Makes Good Financial Sense

Do you wonder  about the affordability of estate planning? In general, its cost will depend on the size and complexity of your estate. Of course, dying without a will or estate plan means there will likely be court and legal interventions, according to state law. When the courts intervene, there are at least two things that are highly probable: your estate will take longer in probate, and you’ll pay more in taxes and fees. 

Organization Matters!

Any New Year’s resolution with any chance of successful resolution starts with a good checklist. Estate planning is no exception. Organizing your assets digitally and securing original documents or hard copies is the first and most important step in the process. Once organized, you can write a will and specify a financial and medical power of attorney. And remember to update beneficiaries on your bank accounts to help minimize the probate period.

Build Trust and Confidence this New Year

Family dynamics can contribute to the many reasons why you might be uncomfortable with estate planning or sharing your plans with your family members. But in the end, it is time to make the tough decisions, have the hard conversations, and do what you can to benefit your family. And while family members are not necessarily all on board with your decisions, at least it’s all out in the open, and you can build from there.

So, as uncomfortable as tackling this ‘Estate Planning’ goal might initially seem, this is not something to leave for another year. We’re here to help you start estate planning. As New Year’s resolutions go, putting your affairs in order will be a proud accomplishment. Nothing says “responsible, right, loving action” like creating an estate plan for your family.