Everyone needs to create an estate plan at some point in their life, but most people don’t look forward to it. Instead, they search for any way possible to delay the process and/or work through the steps as quickly as possible.
Without the right approach, there’s a good chance you could make one or more estate planning mistake. And if that happens, it can result in additional challenges for you and/or your family in the future.
Here are four common estate planning mistakes to avoid:
- Thinking you don’t need an estate plan: It’s true that you are not obligated by law to create an estate plan, but with so many benefits it makes sense to do so. For example, if you don’t have an estate plan, there’s no way of knowing exactly what will happen to your assets upon your death.
- Neglecting to plan for incapacity: Don’t focus all your estate planning attention on your assets and where they’ll end up. You should also plan for incapacity, such as by creating a power of attorney for health care.
- Forgetting to review your estate plan: You can’t assume that the original terms and conditions of your estate plan should remain in place until you pass. There are times to review and alter your plan, such as if you have a child or go through a divorce.
- Assuming that a will is the right choice: For many, a trust is a good addition to their estate plan, as it provides a variety of additional benefits. For example, assets that you house in a trust are not subject to probate. Also, a trust is not public record, so it provides a higher level of privacy protection.
If you’re successful avoiding these estate planning mistakes, among others, you’ll find that you have the peace of mind you’re seeking.
Rather than risk a mistake, it’s best to get serious about all aspects of estate planning. It will take some time, energy and personal resources, but it’s better than simply hoping for the best. Once you have a comprehensive estate plan in place, you’ll feel better about your current situation and everything that could happen in the future.