Estate planning is easier said than done. It is a complex area of the law and usually requires the help of a professional. When you do it alone, you are bound to make certain mistakes. Since there are many misconceptions about estate planning, it is not uncommon to find people making the wrong choices.
The best way to avoid these errors is to have an estate planning and probate lawyer by your side. An attorney can not only prevent you from making mistakes but educate you on the topic and save your time and money. Meanwhile, here are a few common mistakes to look out for.
Common estate planning errors
- Not understanding how your assets will pass upon your death.
Many people think that the assets will be passed on to the beneficiaries as stated in the will. However, people nowadays hold a lot of money and assets in their retirement plans. This is why many assets pass outside the wills and trusts. Wills and trusts control your real estate, but the assets contained in your retirement plan are not subject to probate.
Therefore, the assets in your retirement plan pass on to the pass named as the beneficiary. For example, suppose you named your sister as a beneficiary in your retirement plan when you were single. After you got married, you forgot to add your spouse’s name to the retirement plan. Now when you pass away, all the assets go to your sister rather than your spouse.
- Not having a real plan.
Not having a real plan refers to having a plan, but one that is poorly drafted and usually done in a hurry. It is important to understand all the areas of estate planning, explore your options and compare them with each other. An attorney can tell you about these and suggest the best ones according to your situation.
For example, if you want to probate, there are options to do so. Unless you learn about estate planning thoroughly, you won’t be able to understand these aspects.
- Not discussing estate planning with friends and family.
Whether you plan on keeping your friends and family in your will or not, it is good to have the discussion well in advance. Nobody likes sudden surprises when it comes to a will. If you know someone who thinks they will be in your will, but you do not want to keep them, then you should have the discussion. Setting expectations low beforehand will avoid disagreements later.
Creating an estate plan is one of the most generous things you can do for your friends and family. Do not delay it as your loved ones’ future depends on it. Contact an attorney today.
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