When it comes to your estate plan, procrastination, outdated documents, forgetting end-of-life care, and tax implications can cost you (and your loved ones).
If you think there’s always tomorrow to put together an estate plan, this could cost you and your loved ones in a big way. While many put off estate planning because they think they’re too young, don’t own enough assets, can always “worry about it later,” or think they can’t afford to pay a qualified professional to put an estate plan together for them, not protecting your interests, assets, and loved ones in the event you pass away can wreak havoc on your family long after you’re gone.
Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when formulating their estate plans. You may want to learn from their mistakes.
Don’t Make These Mistakes in Your Estate Plan
- Procrastination. Easily the biggest estate planning pitfall of all is procrastinating on putting together your estate plan. A common misconception is only elderly people need wills, but the truth is, we never know what a day could bring forth and ensuring your loved ones are protected should be top of mind. Not having an estate plan in place can lead to a stressful, costly, and lengthy probate process for your family members where a judge who doesn’t know you from Adam has the authority to decide what happens to your assets or minor children. While considering your own death is not an enjoyable experience, getting your estate plan solidified with a qualified professional can ease your mind, protect your assets, and ensure your loved ones are protected. Don’t wait.
- Going the DIY route with your estate plan. You may be able to sidestep attorney fees by printing a DIY will from sites like LegalZoom, but you may also want to consider the ramifications of a Google estate plan versus working with a qualified professional. Going the DIY route may save you money now, but your loved ones may suffer emotionally and financially if the documentation is not ironclad or doesn’t hold up in court. Worse, DIY estate plans and living wills are often subject to scrutiny or claims of invalidity.
- Outdated documents. Another misconception in estate planning is that the process is a one-and-done. However, your estate plan may require updating several times throughout your life; for example, getting married, divorced, remarried, or purchasing new property are all reasons to revisit your estate plan and make necessary changes. Thus, it is critical to keep your documents up to date and revisit your estate plan as often as needed.
- Making children joint owners of your assets. While it may be tempting to make your children joint owners of your assets, the implications of doing this may give you pause. Making children joint owners of your assets gives their creditors access to your investments. And while you may have the most responsible and financially literate children in the world, the future is unpredictable. They could have a business unexpectedly go under or in a costly vehicle accident. For a bulletproof estate plan, it is recommended to instead name your child as a power of attorney and as a payable-on-death beneficiary to your bank or brokerage accounts.
- Failing to plan for end-of-life care. Many people equate estate planning with leaving assets to an heir, forgetting that end-of-life preferences are a critical piece of every estate plan. Failing to plan for end-of-life care and outlining your final wishes should you become unable to express your wishes yourself can mean leaving these important decisions in the hands of your loved ones or the court. Verbally expressing your wishes to your loved ones is important, too, but if the information is not outlined in an advance medical directive, you have no way of knowing your preferences will be carried out. Thus, including an advance medical directive in your estate plan can create clarity around your end-of-life healthcare preferences and decisions.
Mobile Estate Planning Made Easy
The process of getting a legitimate will in place for you and your family can be overwhelming, confusing, and costly, but it doesn’t have to be! At Assurest, we offer simple, affordable solutions for your legal needs and make the process easy by coming to you for the conversation—meeting you in your home or, if you prefer, virtually or over the phone.
Serving the Greater Richmond area and beyond, our experienced and trustworthy professionals simplify the process using clear, understandable language free of legal jargon and provide flat-rate packages, so you’re never surprised by the bill. Contact us today and rest assured that your affairs are in order and your loved ones are protected.
Disclaimer: This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Responses to inquiries, whether by email, telephone, or other means, do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create or imply the existence of an attorney-client relationship.