Avoid These Simple Estate Planning Mistakes
Are you thinking about getting some estate plans in order? This is always a positive step. A comprehensive estate plan can put your mind at ease, knowing that your wishes will be carried out when the time comes.
It’s important to think about what is important to you and what objectives you want to achieve with your plan. At the same time, you must avoid making simple mistakes. With this in mind, here are the five most common estate planning mistakes you need to avoid:
1. Not Having a Plan
We’ve all heard the phrase, “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” With such inevitability, we may as well plan for these important events properly, right? Most people are pretty good about planning for their taxes. But planning for death? Not so much.
As a general rule, all adults should have, at a minimum, basic estate planning documents in order. For instance, unexpected events can happen at any time that could require a Power of Attorney form and other estate documents.
It’s important to note that estate planning attorneys cannot create someone’s documents if the individual does not have the required mental capacity. In such cases, the only option is to proceed with a costly and lengthy process known as a conservatorship or guardianship.
You can avoid headaches like this for yourself and your loved ones by having plans in place while you are healthy. You’ll feel good knowing they will have everything they need to help you in an emergency.
2. Not Updating Your Plan
Over time, your estate planning documents can become outdated. For example, there may be changes in the law that directly affect your plans. Your marital status could change, or even your goals could change. Updating your plan will ensure that your current goals are properly addressed and that your documents meet the current legal requirements.
3. Not Enlisting a Professional
You may have seen DIY wills for sale, often written by computer programs. Some companies market kits with sample documents or templates. But when it comes to estate planning, DIY rarely, if ever, addresses all of the needs you want to tackle. After all, how could a computer know what’s important to you?
Even if you write the will yourself, you may not know all the details that must be resolved upon your death. There are so many considerations that must be resolved, and a reputable estate planning lawyer can help you answer countless questions you may not have thought of.
4. Using the Wrong Documents
There are several “life documents” every adult should have, just in case the unthinkable happens. One of these documents is a Durable Power of Attorney that designates someone to handle your finances and non-medical concerns. Another important document is a Last Will and Testament that specifically outlines how to handle your assets when you pass away.
Your estate lawyer understands that your situation is unique and, in addition to these documents, he or she will work with you to make sure your documents are individually tailored to address your needs.
5. Not Considering Trusts as a Planning Tool
It’s also a costly mistake to think that trusts are strictly for the rich. In reality, everyone deserves the benefits a trust offers. Here are a few advantages of using a trust:
- Avoid probate
- Avoid specific taxes
- Easily transfer assets to loved ones upon your passing
- Protect assets to protect against the rising costs of long-term care.
Contact an Experienced Santa Ana Estate Planning Lawyer for Help
Estate planning is about preparing plans to manage risks upon your death and to help those you leave behind. Get proper legal assistance to help you avoid estate planning mistakes. Please contact the Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai at 714.694.1200 or contact us online to discuss your estate planning goals.