A well-crafted estate plan should protect your wishes, but mistakes in the process can actually place your wishes in jeopardy. To makes sure your estate plan truly accomplished what you want it to, avoid these three common mistakes:
- Failing to update: Major changes in your life and in your family may render your existing estate plan no longer viable. Divorce, remarriage and adoptions are among the biggest events that warrant an estate plan revision. Even something like starting a business may require a change to a will or trust, as you want to make sure that the next generation of business owners will be set up for success.
- Failing to protect a beneficiary with special needs: Mistakes in the estate planning process could render a loved one with special needs ineligible for certain assistance programs. By establishing a special needs trust, you can provide this loved one with financial assistance without disrupting their other sources of income.
- Failing to understand the plan: It may be tempting to just trust your attorney and sign the papers he or she puts in front of you, but doing so without truly understanding the plan is a mistake. Make sure you understand the finer details of your will, trusts, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents before signing anything. A good estate planning lawyer will explain the legal elements of your plan in plain language so that there are no surprises and you are never left in the dark.
By avoiding common estate planning mistakes, you can rest easy knowing that your plans, and your wishes, are protected.