Barrett Legacy Estate Solutions

What NOT to Include in Your Estate Planning Documents

One important purpose of estate planning is to facilitate the transfer of ownership of your money and property to your family and loved ones when you pass away. For this transfer to be as stress-free and efficient as possible, it is crucial that estate planning documents provide all necessary information. Nevertheless, there is some information that should never be included in your Oklahoma estate planning documents.

Social Security Numbers:

You may think that it would make sense to refer to yourself and your family members or loved ones by using their Social Security numbers to ensure that they are correctly identified when the time comes. However, using full legal names, including middle name or initial, is typically adequate. Providing Social Security numbers would leave the individual vulnerable to the risk of identity theft because there are several estate planning documents that may become part of the public record.

Account Numbers:

Similarly, unauthorized people may use account numbers to steal money from your accounts if those numbers are listed in your estate plan and become part of the public record. It is important to keep your account numbers in a secure location rather than including them in your will. You also should be cautious about making them readily available to family members unless you have designated one or more of them to act as your agent under a power of attorney, guardian, trustee, or a similar role.

Disparaging Remarks:

Many people have difficult family relationships. Some may think that their will is a means by which they can have the last word, so to speak, in a contentious relationship. However, a few courts have held an estate or the executor of an estate liable for testamentary libel, that is, publishing a false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation in a will. So it is prudent to call upon the better angels of your nature and use your will as a means of blessing those you love instead of blasting those you dislike.

As an experienced estate planning attorney, I will make sure that the information necessary to achieve your wishes is included in your estate planning documents and that anything that would risk damage to your estate and ultimately, your beneficiaries, is excluded.