Top Estate Planning Mistakes You Should Avoid

Estate planning is for those who care about the future of their loved ones. It safeguards the wealth of his/her family. It protects his/her family from creditors. An estate plan will minimize cases of probate and conflicts. However, it’s important to get the process right. Hire the right lawyers from Easler Law. Don’t make the following mistakes when doing estate planning.

Failing to Plan

This is one of the biggest mistakes you can ever make. And this is particularly true when it comes to estate planning. Most people don’t prioritize estate planning. And when they do it, they don’t execute it to completion.  

Without an estate plan, you’re simply risking your estate’s financial future. So, if you haven’t yet started planning, it’s time you do so. An estate plan doesn’t just safeguard your property but it also secures your loved one’s future.

Hiding Things

If possible, talk to your friends and family. Let them know your plans. This might reduce the possibility of any contention after your passing. But if you can’t do that, you can specify in your estate plan that anyone who contests your decisions could be written out.

Spend some time discussing your will with your spouse and executor. Notify those who’ve specified on your estate plan about your asset transfer plans.

Stating One Beneficiary

It’s always better to have multiple beneficiaries designated for the ownership of your assets. If an heir passes away before you do, you will have to identify a contingent beneficiary. Ideally, this is the person who’ll take over from your original beneficiary.

To avoid such inconveniences, consider listing more than one beneficiary in your estate plan.

Not Having A POA

Don’t forget to name a power of attorney. In case you become incapacitated, your attorney will step in to make important decisions on your behalf. Make sure that your living will or trust designates power of attorney or appoints a trusted individual to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf.

Not Making Sound Financial Plans   

Your family members will be mourning your death. And they won’t be able to make important decisions regarding your end-of-life. How would you want your life celebrated? What kind of funeral or burial would you like? If you’ve any special arrangements, then be sure to put that into writing.

Make sure that your estate plan truly reflects your final wishes. This will alleviate stress for those mourning your loss.

Ignoring Digital Resources

With the current technological advancements, it’s a prudent idea to plan for your digital assets. This could include email accounts, social media accounts, as well as, online banking. Don’t forget to name a digital executor to handle your digital assets.

Ignoring Charities  

Do you wish to transfer some of your assets to charity organizations? If so, then be sure to indicate that in your estate plan. There are several ways to donate some of your property to charities. You can transfer the assets in form of gifts.

Alternatively, you can name the charity institution as a beneficiary of the proceeds received from an investment or your life insurance policy.

Using Inappropriate Legal Terms

Be mindful of your wording. The way you communicate can negatively impact your children’s future. If your kids are still very young, you should provide instructions on how their guardian should use their inheritance to take care of them and ensure they lead a happy life. 

Don’t assume that your children will need something, when in a real sense they may not. It’s always advisable to leave specific guidelines on how you want your assets passed on to minors. Think carefully about your statements and make sure that they reflect your true intentions.

Getting Too Detailed 

Of course, it isn’t a bad idea to get specific. Nonetheless, certain situations don’t require you to become too specific. You may own property at one point in your life but you can lose possession of the same in the future.

Being too specific might lead to unforeseen complications. Be strategic about your estate planning. Review your plan regularly to identify and fix potential errors. In case you decide to sell a property that was included in your original estate plan, then be sure that update that as soon as you can.

Not Funding The Trust Adequately

Make sure that your trust is adequately funded. A trust is a useful element in every estate plan. But when not properly funded, it could be frustrating. After creating your trust, go ahead and fund it. This will guarantee the safety of your assets and family members.

Ignoring Taxes 

Plan for the estate tax liability. Your debts and gifts can have a huge impact on the amount of taxes imposed on your estate. If you have a very large estate that’s worth over $12 million, you might have to pay federal taxes. But if it’s worth less than $5 million, you might be exempted from paying taxes at the federal level.

Not Securing Your Estate

Is your estate plan secure and insured? You can’t achieve anything if your beneficiaries can’t access your estate plan. Think critically before storing your plan in a safety deposit box. Your loved ones might find it difficult to access the document after you’re gone.

Not Hiring An Estate Planning lawyer

Don’t fail to hire an estate planning lawyer. Remember, estate planning involves a lot of complexities. Simple mistakes can mess up things. Thus, hire a competent lawyer.

A lawyer can help you in so many ways. For instance, a lawyer understands the process. He/she knows how to draft a legally binding estate plan. Lawyers will help you avoid costly probate processes.

Remember, a probate process is costly and time-consuming. It will put your family and beneficiaries under stress when you are gone. Still more, a lawyer knows how to minimize estate taxes. 

Hire an experienced lawyer. Choose a lawyer with an excellent track record. Read reviews. Contact testimonials. Conduct your background check before hiring a lawyer.

The Bottom-Line

Estate planning is a critical process. Thus, handle it with care. Get the process right. Create a legal will. Hire an expert to guide you. Don’t make the above mistakes when creating your plan. 


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