Estate planning is not easy. Establishing an estate plan on your own or with the help of an inexperienced attorney can lead to mistakes that affect your heirs and beneficiaries after your death. Here’s a look at some of the most common estate planning mistakes that you should avoid:
Failing to Update the Will
A will is a legal document in your estate plan that outlines how your property should be distributed after your death. You will need to update this document frequently to account for changes in your life. For example, let’s say you write a will leaving the majority of your assets to your sister, but she unexpectedly passes away. You will need to decide who should get your assets now that your sister is gone, and then update the will to reflect these changes. Updating your will after events like this can ensure you remain in control of who gets your property in the future.
Giving Your Children Too Much Too Soon
Many parents want to provide for their children as part of their estate plan. Unfortunately, parents often make the mistake of simply naming their minor children as their beneficiary. Once those children turn 18 years old, they will take control of the money left to them. This is something most parents may want to reconsider. Legally speaking, a child is an adult when he turns 18 years old, but most people of this age still are not responsible enough to handle a significant amount of money. Parents should consider establishing a family trust through which they may place additional restrictions on these funds, such as to provide for educational expenses before the entire estate is disbursed, in order to ensure their grown children are financially secure for years to come.
Choosing the Wrong Executor
An executor is someone who is appointed to oversee the estate of a deceased person. The executor is responsible for paying taxes, settling debts, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. This may seem simple, but completing these tasks is often time-consuming and complex. An executor’s job is even more challenging if the deceased’s loved ones are fighting over the estate.
Make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible by taking the time to choose the right executor. Although many people appoint a family member or friend as executor, it’s perfectly normal to appoint a neutral third party such as a trusted lawyer or financial advisor. Don’t forget to explore all of your options before deciding who is right for the job.
Not Including Healthcare Plans
Most documents in an estate plan deal with issues that arise after someone’s death, but there are a few documents that cover issues that could arise while you are still alive. One of these documents is a healthcare power of attorney, which gives someone else the authority to make important decisions related to your healthcare in the event you are incapacitated. Failing to include this document in your estate plan can make it harder for your family to care for you in the future. It can also put them in the uncomfortable position of having to figure out what healthcare decisions you would have made for yourself if you were not incapacitated.
If you’re ready to start the estate planning process, seek legal representation from our experienced attorneys. We will work tirelessly to guide you through the process so you do not make any of these crucial estate planning mistakes. Contact The Nice Law Firm at 317-269-3500 to schedule a consultation regarding your needs.