New estate plan considerations: your parents, your dog and your Facebook profile

By Lauren McNitt

ProducersWEB


Society is changing, and these changes mean new considerations for estate and financial planning. For example, how many of your clients have pets that they love as if they were their children? How many have elderly parents they care for?

What about digital assets such as online financial accounts, photos and social networking site profiles? And how many of your clients have considered these in their estate plan?

According to a new BMO Retirement Institute report, two-thirds of Americans have pets, yet just one-third has considered them in their estate plan. If your clients died tomorrow, do they know who would care for their beloved Fido? When assisting your clients with their plans, be sure to ask them about pets, even if you think the thought of estate planning for a cat or dog is absurd. Remember, 87 percent of pet owners consider their pets to be a family member.

The same report found just one-third of Americans have made provisions for their elderly parents in their estate plans. But as medicine improves and life expectancy grows, more and more Americans are responsible for caring for their elderly parents. If the children died first, what would become of these elderly parents? Make sure your clients lay out a plan for the family members they are responsible for.

Digital assets may seem less important, but 84 percent of baby boomers are using at least one online financial tool today. Make sure your clients have a plan for what will happen to these tools, as well as their Flickr photo albums of the grandkids and their Facebook profile.