When you pass away, estate planning facilitates the transfer of wealth to your loved ones. Therefore, estate planning involves preparing various legal documents to ensure your wishes are carried out effectively. However, there is some personal information that we recommend an estate plan should not include:
Social Security Numbers
You do not need to provide the social security numbers of your beneficiaries in estate documents. To correctly identify your beneficiaries, simply using their full legal names, including middle name, is sufficient. Since various estate planning documents become public records, including social security numbers could put your loved ones at risk for identity theft. Please note, you may be required to provide this information when designating family members as beneficiaries of your retirement account. However, those forms are secure and cannot be accessed by the public.
Additionally, since some estate planning records become public, you should leave financial account numbers out of them. Instead of having your account numbers in your will, it is advisable to store them in a secure location. Additionally, please exercise caution when sharing these numbers with loved ones unless you have officially designated them to act as your agent under a power of attorney. Safeguarding this sensitive information helps maintain the privacy and security of your financial affairs.
We recognize that rocky familiar relationships do exist in certain circumstances. However, a will is not the place for frustrations or conflicts to be made known. It is best to focus the will solely on its intended purpose of asset distribution and expressing final wishes. Including negative comments serves no constructive purpose and may only inflict unnecessary pain on the ones left behind. If there are specific concerns or issues with family members, addressing them outside of the will privately and constructively may be a better approach.
We Can Help
As seasoned estate planning attorneys, Law & Stein, LLP takes great care to ensure that all the essential information to fulfill your wishes is meticulously incorporated into your estate planning documents. Furthermore, we diligently exclude any details your estate plan should not include to safeguard your and your beneficiaries’ privacy. Contact us today to initiate your estate planning process with confidence.