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Details frequently missed in an estate plan

When creating an estate plan, there are lots of situations to go over. It can feel like an overwhelming exercise.

Many in Tennessee know their estate plan needs to be thorough, but still leave items off. It can be easy to overlook things that traditionally may not have been included in a plan. Things like:


What happens to a beloved dog or cat can be a thorny subject. If you share custody of an animal with an ex-spouse (it happens), that adds even more ambiguity to the animal's care.

If you have other pets that live long, like horses, parrots or turtles, it's important to set aside money to care for them.

When filling out an estate plan, make sure your animals have a good home.

Digital property

More and more of our lives are moving online, and that's created issues around digital assets. You may not consider them traditionally valuable, but old emails between family and digital photo albums hold sentimental value. It's good to assign these kinds of assets to people who will enjoy them.

Then there are digital assets with monetary value. Things like purchased movies, songs or other media. Published articles or songs you have written that may still have licensing attached to them. A collection of movies or video games that you have accrued.

All of these have worth, and it's important to assign them properly.


This may seem ridiculous, but it's good to have a list of all your digital passwords in a very safe place. It can be in a safety deposit box, a safe or other highly secure location. But without your passwords, chances are no one will be able to access your online resources.

Programs like LastPass make it easy to securely store all your passwords so that you only have one master password to remember and pass on.

Don't leave family locked out on electronics or online accounts. Keep your passwords organized and labeled.

Genetic material

In the age of genetics, it's possible you have material stored somewhere. Things like frozen embryos, sperm or eggs need to be accounted for. It can be easy to forget about, but without addressing them you have no way of knowing how they will be used when you pass away.

Preparing thorough estate documents

It may seem like a lot, but that's because it is. Estate planning has to take many factors into account. It can feel like overkill at times but the more guidance you can leave your loved ones, the better.

If you have any questions about what needs to go into your plan, and what you can leave off, a skilled estate planning attorney can be a valuable resource.

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    “I recently moved to TN from MN and needed to re-do my trust documents, including a pet trust, to be compliant with TN law, and to find an entity able to act as my trustee. Russ and his staff were able to answer all of my questions quickly and efficiently, and I am comfortable and confident in Russ's representation and that my new documents will act as they are intended, when the time comes. They even put me in touch with a trustee who was involved in the process as well, which was so helpful. This was a big item on my move "to-do" list, and I am so pleased to have it completed!”

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    “Being new to the area having moved from out of state, I was searching for an attorney to assist in elder estate planning for my mother. I was referred to Russ Cook & Associates and found the firm as a whole and Russ Cook himself to be very helpful and accommodating to my needs, as well as experienced and very knowledgeable on the matter I was seeking assistance. I would definitely recommend Russ Cook and Associates.”

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5141 Virginia Way
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Brentwood, TN 37027

Phone: 615-200-9117
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