Estate planning serves a number of important purposes, from financially supporting loved ones to communicating wishes regarding medical treatment. If you want to get the most out of your estate plan, here are a few common mistakes to avoid.
Not being clear enough
One of the biggest estate planning mistakes is simply the failure to communicate. Vague and ambiguous language in an estate plan can leave your loved ones with difficult questions and even legal disputes. You may have the best intentions by letting your family sort out the details amongst themselves after you pass away, but the process of administering your estate will run smoother and with less conflict if you make your wishes crystal clear.
Naming only one beneficiary
If you only name one beneficiary and he or she passes away before you do, you will need to update your plan or else the state may choose who your assets go to. By naming contingent beneficiaries, you create a line of succession that will ensure your wealth and assets go to the appropriate person.
Not planning for long-term care
Seventy percent of people age 65 and older will need some form of long-term care at some point. By failing to address this potential need in your estate plan, you could sacrifice quality of life as well as assets. Discuss asset protection strategies and insurance solutions with your estate planning lawyer to learn how to avoid these potential shortcomings in your plan.
Failing to adapt
Your priorities when you first created your estate plan may be different than they are today. If you have gotten divorced, had a child or experienced some other major life event, your will, trusts and other estate planning documents may no longer reflect your wishes. Update your documents when necessary and gain the peace of mind that your present-day wishes are reflected in your estate plan.
By working with an experienced estate planning lawyer, you can obtain the legal guidance you need to create a successful estate plan that will help your loved ones get through a difficult time.