Weekend Reading: Don't Neglect the Softer Side of Your Estate Plan

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
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Weekend Reading

Hopefully your estate plan includes the basic estate documents and beneficiaries, but here’s a look at why you might want to go deeper and be more descriptive with your wishes before your passing.


While you more than likely trust the judgment of your power of attorney, executor and trustee, other non-financial issues could arise which are worth thinking through. They include:

📌Attitudes toward guardianship: If you have designated guardians to care for minor children, informing the guardians of the priorities and values you hope to instill in your children (even those that are grown) is worthwhile

📌Attitudes toward life during dementia: With the uptick of dementia in today’s world and increased longevity, providing guidance on how you wish to be cared for if you were to develop dementia is something to consider. How would you want family members to balance your quality of life with their own?

📌Attitude toward end-of-life-care: Weighing life-sustaining care versus quality of life is important, as well as how this will affect your loved ones

📌Attitudes toward funerals, burials and so on: While for some, these plans might be guided by cultural or religious beliefs, for others, they are not, which means putting wishes in writing is key.

📌Attitudes toward care of pets: For some, pets are like family members, and you can certainly include guidance for a pet in your estate plan

📌Attitudes about disposition of personal possessions: Are there any physical items you want to stay in the family or go to a particular family member? The more specific you are about these items, the better off everyone will be.

Above all, be intentional: Many individuals take estate planning way too lightly or way too technically, overlooking what could be some of the most important elements in the end.