Estate plans are critical documents for anyone, not just those with large estates. An estate plan can give you peace of mind knowing that your assets will be handled how you wish, but there are also some issues that you may run into if you don’t adequately plan. Here are some common issues to avoid while making your estate plans.
1. Not Making an Estate Plan
You may put off making an estate plan for a number of reasons, but forgoing an estate plan means that your assets may not be distributed as you intended. Your family will also have to deal with the additional stress of handling your estate, on top of other final affairs.
2. Failing to Update Your Estate Plan
Life leads to many changes, and you should remember to update your estate plan to reflect these changes. Births, deaths, divorces, new property acquisitions, and other changes can require an update to your will. Review your will periodically with your attorney to make sure that it still fits your needs.
3. Not Making Plans for Disability
An unexpected long-term disability can drastically change your personal and financial plans. Set aside the time to decide who will handle your finances, care for your children, or make healthcare decisions on your behalf. You should make these choices legally binding by appointing a power of attorney and create a living trust to work on your behalf.
4. Not Transferring Your Life Insurance Policies to a Trust
Your life insurance policies are subject to a heavy estate tax, which can cause your beneficiaries to receive far less than intended. Protect your loved ones by making a life insurance trust the owner of your life insurance policies. This can prevent your policies from being taxed, and will prevent your beneficiaries from waiting several months to receive the payouts from your policies.
5. Not Seeking Advice from a Qualified Estate Planning Lawyer
Many of these mistakes can be avoided with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. They can advise you as to your best options, ensure that your will or trust needs are met, keep your estate plans up-to-date, and help you make other decisions pertaining to your end-of-life plans.
At Boswell & Dunlap LLP, we are passionate about helping our clients find peace of mind in knowing that their wishes will be honored and their loved ones cared for, even after they are gone. Our Polk County estate planning lawyers are backed by more than 100 years of collective legal experience, so you can trust that your case is in good hands.