If you’re concerned about what will happen to your property when you pass away, it might be time to consider creating an estate plan. It’s not a process many enjoy going through, but it is important if you want to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of.
If you are considering planning for your family’s future, it’s important to avoid many of the mistakes others make when drafting their estate planning documents. This post will show you some of the most common missteps made when people have created their estate plan. Of course, engaging with an experienced estate planning lawyer is also a must when you’re laying out your plan.
Mistake #1: Not Having An Estate Plan
This might seem obvious, but the majority of people in the United States have not created an estate plan. This is a massive mistake, especially if you have accumulated significant wealth.
If you fail to create an estate plan, you will not be able to determine where your assets go when you pass away. Instead, your local probate court will distribute your property in the way they deem appropriate. Don’t let this happen.
Mistake #2: Failing To Update Your Documents
Many people make the mistake of drafting their estate planning documents, locking them in a drawer, and then forgetting about them. Do not make this mistake, or it could cause a myriad of problems for your beneficiaries.
As life goes on, things change. You might have other children. Then, you may have grandchildren. You might acquire new properties, or sell existing real estate. Perhaps some of the beneficiaries you named previously have passed away.
There are so many changes that can occur throughout the course of a life that it is necessary to periodically take a look at your documents and make sure they are up to date. If you don’t, you run the risk of allowing the courts to decide where part of your estate ends up.
Mistake #3: Coordinating Your Beneficiary Designations Remember that even if your Will says “everything to Joan upon my death”
if you have put your brother Bob’s name on your bank account Bob will get the account proceeds upon your death because Bob is the surviving co-owner. You should have instead appointed Bob as your attorney-in-fact by using a power of attorney. That way he could access your bank account (write checks) but Joan would get the proceeds when you die.