Estate planning may seem straightforward but overlooking some critical items can lead to probate and other complications. In this article, we discuss the four most common estate planning mistakes.
- Not Having An Estate Plan
This one should be obvious, but not having an estate plan is definitely the first and biggest mistake you can make when it comes to planning for you and your family’s financial future. An estate plan is necessary for your family to know what your intentions were and how to execute them properly and according to your wishes. Without an estate plan, distributions of assets and property become complicated and are subject to the probate process, which can be long and emotionally exhausting for your family. To avoid this, contact an experienced estate planning attorney at Windrose Law Center to help you navigate the process and ensure that you have a plan.
- Failing to Update your Beneficiaries
Your beneficiaries are your family members or close friends that will be receiving your assets after death. It’s very important to keep these up to date as life changes occur or as other family members or friends pass away. Again, if they are not kept up to date, a probate process can ensue if one of your other beneficiaries or family members contests the distribution of a certain estate asset to an improper beneficiary. We recommend that you check or update your beneficiaries every year, and especially when there is a major life event.
- Failing to Accurately Keep Your Records
Failing to accurately keep your records and track your assets can lead to a myriad of problems. Specifically, having assets that your beneficiaries or other family members do not know about can make it difficult for them to access important information or benefits they may need. The best policy is to make sure you have all of your assets accounted for, have them written clearly in your estate plan for your executor to follow instructions, and make sure third parties like accountants or estate planning attorneys know where all of them are. It is difficult for your loved ones to know where you had assets and debts if they are not documented somewhere. This is especially important in the digital age that we live in given that many people receive statements via email rather than in their actual mailbox.
- Not Creating Durable Powers of Attorneys for Health Care and Finances
A common misconception is that your next of kin can make decisions for you by virtue of being related to you. What really happens is that without someone with the legal authority to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf, the decision is turned over to the probate court where the judge will often assign a professional conservator and guardian, rather than who you might have chosen. While some may be comfortable with this, most people want loved ones to help make the important decisions.
At Windrose Law Center PLC, we specialize in crafting personalized estate plans that align with your goals and aspirations. Our experienced team is ready to serve you. Take the first step today and schedule a complimentary consultation. By doing so, you will prevent these costly mistakes and provide peace of mind for you and your family.