There is not a one-size-fits-all estate planning formula. However, while each plan is unique and tailored to your estate, several of the same problems and mistakes can often occur.
These avoidable mistakes are not specific to your estate’s value, rather they stem from not being well versed or communicating thoroughly enough when developing an estate plan.
The following are three common mistakes that can easily be avoided by hiring a seasoned estate planning attorney from the start.
Oftentimes, attorneys and professionals can draft estate plans using heavy technical jargon which can be confusing to the average person. This creates a problem when it comes time to properly implement the estate plan.
It is important that you, the client, fully understand what the plan includes and not leave it solely up to the attorney or whoever is drafting the estate plan. It is equally up to the estate planner to ensure that you understand how the estate plan will be carried out and implemented.
Pro-tip: Take notes throughout the planning process so you will be able to refer to the technical aspects when needed.
Estate planning is often done well in advance of when it is enacted. When a beneficiary is named the designated recipient of certain assets (annuities, retirement accounts, life insurance, etc), they must complete separate beneficiary designation forms.
If these forms are not properly completed, dated, and updated, the assets may pass on to immediate family members, ex-spouses, or other unintended beneficiaries instead.
Pro-tip: Every few years or when a major life change arises, review and update your beneficiary designations.
Living trusts are often created to make asset transfers simple and void of complex probate legalities. Similarly, revocable trusts are flexible and living, which makes them revocable at any given time.
Because these types of trusts are subject to continual change by their creators, it is imperative that you and your estate planning attorney are aware of any changes to the trusts and their relation to the estate plan.
Pro-tip: Be transparent and clear with your estate planner about any trusts and assets to ensure that every aspect of your estate plan is properly maintained and executed.
Everyone should have some type of estate plan to ensure that their loved ones appropriately receive their assets upon death.
You do not have to develop your estate plan on your own. Contact the Law Office of Audra Simovitch today to discuss how you can avoid probate, creditors, loss of assets, and have a smooth transition of assets to your beneficiaries.