What Estate Planning Mistakes Should I Be Aware Of?

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Estate Planning Lawyer

Establishing an estate plan can be a long and complicated process, especially without help from a legal professional who can offer insight into such documents. There are several mistakes that a person may accidentally commit, particularly if this is their very first time creating an estate plan. While not everyone’s estate plan will be the same, there are common ways in which people may make errors or oversights. Here are just some of the estate planning mistakes that anyone writing their first draft should be aware of:

Q: Is it a good idea to get help from an estate planner?

A: While it can be very helpful to get guidance from an estate planner, sometimes people rely too much on them when creating their estate plan. Sometimes, a person may simply let the estate planner take the lead without reading through or truly understanding what they just signed.

It is the estate planner’s job to answer questions and make suggestions, but using a hands-off approach when it comes to your estate plan can impact your beneficiaries later on if someone was accidentally left out. At the very least, read over the document and consult with your attorney about whether your estate plan is thorough and legally-binding.

Q: Do I need to edit my estate plan after it has been created?

A: Yes, it is actually recommended that once an estate plan has been established, is to revisit the document every few years or as life circumstances change. Many people forget to update their beneficiary designations for retirement accounts, life insurance policies and annuities. What may happen is after you pass on, these benefits are given to someone who you would not have wanted it to go to after all.

To avoid frustration and disappointment for your closest loved ones, update your estate plan as relationships change, more assets are accumulated, family members are born, or after any other major life developments.  

Q: Is it necessary to include a power of attorney in my estate plan?

A: A power of attorney is someone you can appoint to take care of financial and/or medical care matters in the event you become disabled or after passing away. Appointing someone for this role is important because if for any reason you are unable to communicate your wishes due to incapacitation, you have chosen a person who you trust to make tough decisions with your best of interest at heart.

Q: Do I need to update asset ownership?

A: Many people may own assets and have others listed with a joint title, such as a spouse, adult son or daughter, or someone else. Same as with beneficiary designations, these asset ownerships need to be reviewed from time to time. If something changed with your state law regarding asset ownership, it is crucial to update this information as soon as possible. A person who needs help as they revisit their estate plan documents, can meet with an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts for assistance.

 

 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into estate planning and mistakes to avoid.