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Will provisions should be comprehensive

Californians who want to use their estates to care for their loved ones and dispose of their property need to be careful when they write wills. Experts say that many important details commonly get overlooked and that no matter is too insignificant for inclusion in an estate plan.

Wills shouldn't just consist of stipulations for properties like homes and cars. People with pets also need to designate specific individuals to become caregivers for their animals, and financial planners say that it's even wise to name a backup caregiver in the event that the first person can't fulfill the role. In the same vein, wills should identify alternate beneficiaries in addition to the primary beneficiary. These individuals may receive estate proceeds if age, mental incapacity or other factors preclude the preferred person from taking control of such properties.

Personal properties that seem to lack much monetary value can become sources of disagreements, so wills should clarify which mementos go to which survivors. It's also important to designate who will gain control over intangible digital properties, like social media accounts of sentimental value or business websites.

Estate planning can be a nuanced process. People who want to use structures like wills to secure their loved ones' futures need to take a measured approach to drafting these documents. Making mistakes or falling behind on keeping information current could potentially hinder the intended management of an estate. Errors may also expose beneficiaries to unexpected tax obligations or delays in situations when they could benefit from receiving assets quickly. Taking time to plan estates strategically with an attorney's assistance might help testators avoid will oversights.

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