When creating an estate plan, it is important to make sure that it is accurate and effective. Below is a list of some of the common estate planning mistakes that are made. It is in your best interest to speak with an estate planning attorney to start your planning and to take the time to avoid the following mistakes.
- Putting off planning or not planning at all. Many people wait years to start their estate planning. Taking the time to plan now could make a difference in the future. It is also important to make sure that you have some sort of estate plan in place. No matter how much money you make or how young you are, if you are over the age of 18 you should have a plan in place for the future.
- Not updating estate planning documents. Everyone should meet with an estate planning attorney every 3 to 5 years to review and revise their plan. If serious life changes occur such as marriage, death or the birth of a new child, you should make sure that you update your planning.
- Not having a will. A will allows you to appoint a guardian for your minor children, outline how your assets will be distributed after your death and appoint someone to manage and distribute your assets. Without a will, the court or state will determine all of these things. If you do not have a will, your wishes may not be followed.
- Not hiring an estate planning attorney. Many people attempt to do their own planning in order to save money. It is important to hire an estate planning attorney so that your estate plan fits in with your needs and is legal and error-free. Estate planning is an investment for the future.
- Not updating beneficiary designations. If you become divorced or experience other significant life changes, you will likely need to update your beneficiary designations for your life insurance policy and retirement accounts. This will enable you to make sure that your assets are given to the right people after your death.
If you have questions about estate planning, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.