Mistakes can ruin your estate plan. It can make your will invalid, thus ensuring that your assets are shared based on the intestate laws of your state. While hiring an experienced estate planning attorney is a good way to avoid some of these mistakes, there are still other things you need to do.
Let’s begin by considering what estate planning is.
What is Estate Planning
Estate planning is definitely not as exciting as planning for a vacation in Bahamas or a picnic on one of those serene and beautiful landscapes. However, even if it is not cable of providing you with the instant gratification you s much desire, this lone plan can help secure your future and the future of those you care about.
Estate planning in a nutshell, is all about making preparations for the transfer of your assets after your death. It consist of plans designed to ensure that you have a say on who inherits your assets. This plan can also be beneficial in the event that you become incapacitated, seriously ill, or unable to communicate.
- Failing to create an estate plan:
The first estate planning mistake on our list is the failure to create an estate plan. If you fail to create an estate plan that comes with a will, your assets might end up being distributed according to state law, irrespective of your wishes. To prevent this from happening, ensure you create your estate plan before it’s too late.
- Failure to update your estate plan
An estate plan is not something you create and lock up in your cupboard till you pass on. You need to update your estate plan regularly, especially after a significant event or occurrence like a divorce, the birth of a child, etc.
- Failure to set up a trust
Failure to set up a trust is another deadly estate planning mistakes. Aside from being a tool used to facilitate the transfer of assets, a trust can also be used to bypass the expensive, stressful, and time-consuming probate process. Failure to set up a trust, will leave your estate at the mercy of probate.
- You don’t understand your estate plan:
Surprisingly, there are many people out there who don’t understand their estate place regardless of the guidance of a competent estate planning attorney. Simply signing estate planning documents, and not knowing what you are signing, or what it manes can be an issue.
- Failure to update your beneficiary form
Of course, your will mirrors your intentions regarding your assets; that is who gets what, where, when, and how. However, a will is often superseded by other estate planning documents such as beneficiary forms for retirement plans, annuities, including life insurance policies. Thus, like your will, these forms must be updated.
- Failure to properly title assets
Both inside and outside of trusts, the way in which you own assets make a huge difference. For example, if you own properties as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the assets will go to the other designated individual, like your spouse after your passing.
Not only is titling assets important, you should examine these designations regularly, just as you should your beneficiary designation.
- Failure to create a power of attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to choose an individual who will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Failure to create this document will give the court the right to select an individual to make those decisions on your behalf.
Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
Planning an estate can be quite difficult, especially if you control a large estate. There are a lot of things to consider, legal documents to set up, and paperwork to figure out. Handling this by yourself is impossible. Thus, you will need the help of a professional, someone who know estate planning like the back of his hands.
If you need an estate planning attorney for your estate plan. Or you need advice on how to cut down estate taxes, don’t hesitate to contact our office.