To a lot of people, estate planning is so simple that they can be it put off until late in life. They think that nothing more than a simple will is needed, and that their assets will easily pass down to their loved ones as they see fit.
Although some individuals can get away with utilizing only a will, the vast majority of people are better off with a more comprehensive estate plan. Yet, far too often, individuals make mistakes during the estate planning process that put their assets and their loved ones at risk. If you want to minimize the risk, you need to know some of the common mistakes that people make during the estate planning process so that you can be on the lookout for them and work to avoid them.
Common estate planning mistakes
There are a lot of mistakes that can be made during the estate planning process. Here are some of them:
- Failing to create an estate plan: If you forego an estate plan entirely, you’re leaving your assets subject to intestate succession laws. This may prevent some of your loved ones from inheriting as you intended.
- Not thinking about long-term care needs: Although a lot of estate planning involves figuring out how to leave your assets to your loved ones, it should also include considerations of your potential medical needs. After all, long-term care can be incredibly expensive, meaning that it can quickly eat through any inheritances that you had intended for your loved ones if you’re not careful. Fortunately, there are estate planning vehicles that might be able to help protect your interests here.
- Trying to create your own estate plan: You might think that you can save some time and money by creating your own estate plan, but this can be risky. You might actually end up creating more problems for yourself, as many online self-help guides will likely lead you astray or, at the very least, leave you with an estate plan that is less thorough than you need.
- Not talking about your estate plan with your family: We know this can be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but you should consider discussing your estate planning intentions with your family. Otherwise, you might be setting your loved ones up for familial infighting as they contest what your intentions were when you created your estate plan.
- Waiting too long: You really should create your estate plan when you’re still healthy. If you wait too long, issues regarding mental competency may come into play, which can jeopardize your estate plan as you created it.
- Only naming one beneficiary: Even though you might only want one person to inherit a certain asset, you should always have a contingency plan in place in the event that your named beneficiary passes away before you. So, you should think about naming multiple beneficiaries on applicable accounts.
Work to avoid mistakes that may derail your estate planning intentions
These are just some of the many mistakes that can occur in the estate planning process. There are many more lurking out there. If you want to avoid them, you need to know how to navigate the law and draft the legally valid estate planning documents that are suitable for your situation.
If you want to ensure that your estate plan is iron-clad in that regard, you should consider working with an attorney who can help you effectively navigate this process. You may even feel a sense of relief once you have a holistic plan in place that suits your needs.