Making mistakes in your estate planning can torpedo every effort made to protect your family after you die, according to a recent article from Kiplinger, “Common Estate Planning Mistakes.” Everyone benefits from a professionally-made comprehensive estate plan, a process for preparing your legal and financial affairs so assets and possessions are passed on after your death to the people or charities you want.
Not having an estate plan can create a world of trouble for those you love. The biggest estate planning mistake of all is not having an estate plan. After that, there are several others.
Procrastination. Suppose you unexpectedly become incapacitated and don’t have an estate plan. In that case, your family will be left guessing what you would want your medical care to be, in addition to needing to go to court to apply for guardianship so they can pay your bills and keep your household running. Everyone should have documents like Health Care Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney, HIPAA Release Form, and Living Will in place.
Trying to make an estate plan on your own. Unless you’re an experienced estate planning attorney, there’s a lot you could leave out if you attempt a DIY estate plan. If there are errors, a court could declare your will invalid and it’s as if you never had a will in the first place. The laws of your state will be used to distribute your assets. It may not be what you had in mind.
Keeping estate planning documents in a safe or safe deposit box. Documents need to be where someone can get them in an emergency or after your passing. Safety deposit boxes are often sealed on the death of the owner. Give copies of your estate plan to your appointed executor or trustee, a trusted family member, and your estate planning attorney.
Missing key documents. If your estate plan lacks key documents, your heirs might find themselves battling over the estate. Make sure your estate plan includes these documents:
Digital assets. These include websites, cloud storage, social media accounts, and cryptocurrency, to name a few. By assigning a digital fiduciary and sharing key information, you help heirs avoid identity theft and lost assets.
Failing to update your plan. Your estate plan needs to reflect the changes in your life. If your estate plan is outdated, you may unintentionally disinherit beneficiaries.
Appointing the wrong person as executor or trustee. If your eldest child is a disaster with money management, don’t name them your executor. Consider a trusted person who is unbiased and able to manage money and family dynamics and talk with them about taking on this role before appointing them to this critical role.
If you want to avoid making mistakes with your will, we can help you set up your estate plan. Contact The Werner Law Firm probate lawyers for a free consultation!
If you have any questions, schedule a free appointment with us through our online appointment page.
You can also read reviews from some of the hundreds of clients we have helped over the years.
Reference: Kiplinger (Dec. 30, 2023) “Common Estate Planning Mistakes”
Founded in 1975 by L. Rob Werner and serving California for over 48 years, our dedicated attorneys are available for clients, friends, and family members to receive the legal help they need and deserve. You can trust in our experience and reputation to help navigate you through your unique legal matters.
Whether you need help creating a living trust or navigating probate, our living trust law firm's compassionate team of estate planning lawyers and probate lawyers are here to help you and ready to answer your questions.
Our goal is to make your case as easy as possible for you. Hiring a lawyer can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. From the moment you contact our firm, through the final resolution of your case, our goal is to make the process easy and understandable. We cannot change the fact that probate is a long and complicated process, but through our Werner Law Firm Difference, we strive to go out of our way to keep you informed of your case through every step of the way. We are constantly refining our processes and procedures for a more streamlined and calm client experience. Our goal is to have you feel like a burden was lifted from your shoulders, and that we made the whole process an easy one
If you're dealing with a legal matter, we urge you to schedule a free initial appointment today and join the many satisfied clients who have contacted Werner Law Firm.
23 Corporate Plaza Dr., Suite 150
Newport Beach, California 92660