In an ideal world, estate planning attorneys would only help clients get prepared. They would never have to help clients deal with problems that arise out of mistakes in their estate plans.
But this isn’t an ideal world, and estate planning mistakes happen. To help you avoid these mistakes, here is a list of three that pose some of the greatest risk.
Mistake 1. Making a plan on your own.
You can make your estate plan on your own. You can make a will, trusts, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, and any other estate planning tool that’s out there. There’s no legal requirement for you to hire a lawyer to help you do this.
Unfortunately, making your own plan is also one the biggest mistakes you can make. Estate plans are more than meeting legal requirements, they’re about making choices and creating tools that fit your desires. Unless you are an expert in estate planning, creating a plan on your own will almost guarantee that you make a mistake, leave something out, create the wrong tool, or create a tool you don’t need.
Mistake 2. Not updating your plan regularly
If you already have an estate plan in place, you should congratulate yourself. Making a plan means you are being responsible and thinking that far ahead is something most people are uncomfortable doing. However, you can’t rest on your laurels. Your estate plan is something you need to update as circumstances change.
It’s often helpful to think of an estate plan like you would a piece of machinery. Regardless of how well constructed that machinery is, it will need maintenance to function properly. Estate planning attorneys regularly keep their clients informed about important changes in the law, but you might not always have an attorney there to guide you. If you’ve moved, changed lawyers, or made your plan without a lawyer’s guidance, it’s easy to forget that your estate plan is something you need to review.
If you haven’t already done so, make plans to review your plan at least once a year.
Mistake 3. Not making a plan.
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know that this is something we’ve written about before. But the lesson is worth repeating; you need an estate plan.
People who don’t have an estate plan leave behind property, decisions, and issues that their families will have to face without guidance. Even if you don’t think you need one right now or don’t think you have any property to speak of, an estate plan is a necessity for every adult. Without a plan, your family won’t know what you would’ve wanted and will be left in the dark.
If you’d like to learn more about estate planning, common mistakes, and what you should do, consider attending an upcoming free seminar. Visit our seminars page for more details.