Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate planning is a complex issue, not only legally and financially, but emotionally. Although planning for your retirement may be fun, planning for your possible incapacity and inevitable death can be daunting. Also, it is difficult to be completely rational about such emotionally laden matters. This is why having a skilled and compassionate estate planning attorney is so important. If you try to make your estate planning a do-it-yourself project by downloading forms from the internet, you are starting off on the wrong foot. Unfortunately, in many cases, your loved ones will pay the consequences. Unless you work with a highly competent estate planning attorney, you are all too likely to make one or more of the following errors:

Waiting Too Long to Plan for the Future

When we are young, we all tend to think that we are invincible and that death is too far in the future to be concerned about. For too many people, fatal accidents or illnesses find them unprepared. Don’t be one of them.

Assuming Loved Ones Will Do What You Want Done

Even our intimate family members cannot read our minds. Lack of communication in matters of estate planning can lead to your wishes not being followed. People do not always behave as we expect them to, and do not always die in the order we expect. Unless you designate who you want to make decisions about your final care, and spell out precisely what end-of-life care you want, you run the risk of your final wishes being ignored.

Not Using All the Advantages Available to You

When it comes to estate planning, particularly if you have complicated circumstances (as most of us do), like living part-time in two states, having a special needs child, having stepchildren from a second marriage, or dealing with a lawsuit, having an expert estate planning attorney is not only desirable, but essential. Such an individual will know ways to protect your assets from excessive taxation and creditors, and how to protect your minor children, special needs relatives, and loved ones with spendthrift tendencies from losing government benefits or inheriting too much money all at once. An astute estate planning attorney will also show you how it will benefit your beneficiaries by gifting them during your lifetime, rather than waiting to leave them a large, potentially more vulnerable inheritance.

Failing to Prepare for Contingencies

More often than we would like to think, the unthinkable actually occurs. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney is aware of potential events you may never have considered and will help you to prepare for them. It is wise to plan not only for accidents and illnesses, but for potential births, marriages, divorces, remarriages, increased assets from inheritances or personal injury awards,  potential lawsuit liability, and business formation or dissolution. Such preparation necessitates a regular review of your important documents. Any of the above-mentioned contingencies may require an alteration to your will or trusts. An experienced estate planning attorney will keep track by arranging regular reviews of your material to keep every pertinent document up-to-date. Contact us today.