When it comes to making an estate plan, many people are not as diligent as they should be. Because estate plans decide where your assets will be transferred at your death, it is important to have your affairs in order. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when creating your estate plan:
Not Having an Estate Plan:
The most common estate planning mistake is not having an plan at all. While nobody likes to think about it, death is unavoidable and inevitable. Setting out your plan is one of the most important things a person can do. By planning, you are ensuring that your personal and financial affairs will be handled properly. Those left to handle your personal and financial affairs after you’re gone will also thank you.
Doing Your Estate Plan Yourself:
I know what you’re thinking – attorneys are expensive. And you’re right. Estate plans can be very complicated documents. While you could write your own will or use a generic template, that is very risky. These poorly-drafted documents could potentially be very expensive for you or your heirs. Further, homemade documents may not be enforceable at all, meaning your assets would pass according to the intestacy statutes and NOT how you directed. Play it safe and find an attorney you trust to advise you what planning opportunities are available to you.
Not Planning For Disability:
A proper, well-drafted estate plan will not only specify what happens to your assets when you die, but also for what happens in the event that you become incapacitated. It is important to have both general and financial power of attorney documents in your estate plan. These documents appoint someone you trust to act on your behalf in the event that you cannot act for yourself.
Failing to Update Your Plan:
Once you have gotten an estate plan in place, it is important to keep it up to date. Estate laws are always changing. Further, any life event could greatly affect your estate plan. It is important to review your estate plan frequently to ensure your assets are transferring in the way you wish.
To ensure that you’re not making these and other common estate planning mistakes, talk to your attorney.