Attorneys familiar with estate planning in the senior community see similar Estate Planning Mistakes Crop Up All The Time!
1. Not Making an Estate Plan
Most people avoid estate planning. Instead, begin planning early, while you still have your wits about you and can make informed decisions.
2. Failing to Address All Personal Effects
Most people overlook details about who will receive their personal effects, such as jewelry, art work and collectibles. Most assume their loved ones will agree on how to divide everything. Yet in reality these are the things that people argue over the most because they’re difficult to value and impossible to divide ‘equally’. Instead, in advance, ask everyone what they would like as a final bequeath and put the plan into writing.
3. Failing to Fund Your Revocable Living Trust
Most people who create trusts don’t understand the importance of funding them with actual assets. After you’ve created a revocable living trust, make sure you re-title your assets into the name of the trust. Unfunded assets end up in a court-supervised guardianship if you are mentally incapacitated. Therefore they’ll have to go through probate. Be sure to take the time to fund your assets directly into your trust and double check the beneficiaries of your life insurance and retirement accounts.
4. Choosing the Wrong Fiduciaries
Choose the right fiduciaries for your estate, it is as important as creating the plan. The plan won’t work as you intended if your nominated caretakers aren’t capable of doing the jobs you’ve placed them in charge of. Work with your estate planning attorney to choose the most qualified people or corporate fiduciaries for all of the roles required in the estate plan.
5. Not Updating Your Estate Plan
You will also need to take the time to periodically review and update your plan. The laws governing wills and trusts change over time (sometimes more often than you would imagine). Your personal and financial situations will obviously also change. It is important to review your plan every few years to make sure that it is still functional and will have the intended outcome.