If you have decided it is now time to complete your estate planning, then congratulations, you have made the decision to take care of your family and make sure all your future wishes will be carried out when you are no longer around.
However, as you begin the estate planning process, there are certain mistakes you need to watch out for. By not properly executing your will or trust, you could end up affecting the inheritances that you want your beneficiaries to receive. By reading this, you may have already dodged the biggest estate planning mistake you can make, dying without establishing a will. Dying without a will puts others in charge of your property and it may not turn out anything like you would want.
To avoid any other mistakes, here is what you want to be aware of in your estate planning that if missed, can be costly and lengthy to fix or can mean smaller inheritances to your children and family.
Selecting an inadequate executor
Being the executor of a will should be viewed as an honor. This honor does come with the fact that it can cause some people to be stressed due to the responsibility. An executor is the one who has your trust to make sure that all your last wishes are granted and that all your property and possessions are distributed properly. You will likely designate a loved one or someone very close to you, with who you trust, to be your executor. If your choice is not dependable or does not take the responsibility seriously, then your family may decide to contest the will. This can cause anger in the family and be expensive to sort out.
Having incapable beneficiaries
Some family members or other beneficiaries may not be able to handle the responsibility of large amounts of property and money given to them all at once. When this happens, they can make the wrong decisions or have the mindset of pleasing themselves now with wealth and not letting the value of what was given to them grow. This type of action can make other family members angry and cause division that you most likely did not want to happen. You may want to consider a trust where someone responsible can determine how much money a beneficiary receives and when.
Not keeping your estate planning current
It is easy to believe that an estate plan is something you do one time and then never look at again. However, as your life changes, so should your plan. Children, grandchildren, divorce, adoption and getting re-married are times when you need to revisit your plan. Other times include buying a business, receiving a work bonus, being the beneficiary of someone else’s will or winning the lottery. It is best to pick a date on the calendar and make it the one time during the year you review your estate planning.
Your estate plan should be set-up to make sure you are avoiding costly mistakes and being protected in the case of your death or incapacitation. Now that you know what to avoid, you should contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney right away, their expertise will guide you to effectively make sure your final wishes are executed properly.