Estate planning mistakes are more common than they should be.
Simply creating an estate plan may not be enough.
If you take the advice of someone other than an experienced estate planning attorney from your state of residence, you could get yourself into trouble.
In fact, you could endanger everyone you love and everything you have.
According to a recent The News-Enterprise article titled “Misinformation, poor assumptions result in major planning mistakes,” too many people make (avoidable) mistakes in estate planning.
What are common estate planning mistakes?
Often people believe a “simple” estate plan is the best type of plan.
Long documents and detailed decisions are unappealing.
They want something in plain language they understand.
Unfortunately, when people take matters into their own hands and attempt to simplify the language, they can get themselves into trouble.
The “complicated” legal language used in estate planning communicates specific information to address certain laws and to better protect you and your loved ones.
Another mistake often made in estate planning is to never review or update the documents once created.
Your estate plan should change as you change.
If your children are now grown, the plan you made to protect them as minors may no longer be a good fit for your adult children.
Commonly, people do not consider the effect changing family dynamics can have on their estate planning.
Still have a minor child or two in your family?
The guardian you named may have moved further from the rest of your family, may no longer be close to you relationally, or may have taken a moral spiral.
If this is the case, it would be a significant estate planning mistake to leave this individual as the guardian for your children!
People often delay estate planning because they have a faulty belief about death and planning.
The belief may be that simply thinking about death or incapacity will actually cause it.
The truth is nobody escapes death.
Preparing for death and incapacity does not make death or incapacity more likely to occur.
On the other hand, proper planning provides protections for you and your loved ones.
Do not force your loved ones to choose between your verbal wishes to remain at home and your need for reliable and consistent assistance to meet your health care needs.
Outline your choices for financing and securing necessary care in advance.
Other common estate planning mistakes include, simply adding the name of an adult child as a joint owner to the deed to your home or to an investment account.
This leaves you vulnerable to the squandering, divorces, lawsuits, and bankruptcies of that adult child.
It also has can have significant tax consequences when you die.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you avoid common estate planning mistakes.
Reference: The News-Enterprise (Aug. 24, 2021) “Misinformation, poor assumptions result in major planning mistakes”