Estate planning can take some of the guesswork out of the equation for your family after you pass away. While it can help your wishes be known, mistakes made while drafting the plan can cause problems for your loved ones later on.
Generally, estate planning involves utilizing tools like wills and trusts, guardianships, powers of attorney and health care directives. While your estate plan is unique to you, there are common mistakes you and your attorney should look out for to avoid complications later on.
Common mistakes you could make
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not understanding your plan. While an estate planning attorney can help make sure the documents comply with laws, it is your affairs affected. Before signing, you need to make sure you understand how the plan works for you and your beneficiaries and how to maintain or implement the plan. If you have any questions about the things laid out in the documents, you should get clarification before signing.
When life changes happen, like a divorce or death in the family, you need to look over your estate plan again. Not updating beneficiary designation documents means things could go to either someone you do not want to have it anymore or someone who is no longer alive to receive it. It can also mean people may not receive assets you intended for them to inherit because of outdated forms.
Other mistakes to look out for include:
- Forgetting to update asset ownership
- Not being able to fund revocable trusts
- Not having trusts and retirements plans coordinate
- Not updating plan and powers of attorneys
Plan now to avoid complications later
Any of these mistakes can be costly in the long run and cause serious difficulties for your family when someone implements the items laid out in these documents. While estate planning can be made easier with the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you need to know what to look out for. Avoiding some mistakes means you need to be diligent in updating and reviewing your plan as needed.