You aren't alone if you have no desire to create an estate plan or review the legal documents that you currently have in place. However, if you want to do the responsible thing, you need to put the appropriate amount of time and resources into this project.
Estate planners continue to make the same mistakes, time after time, often without knowing that they are going down a dangerous path.
Here are some of the most common mistakes:
- Neglecting to create an estate plan, such as because you believe you are too young to do this
- Forgetting to update your will as you age, especially when you face a major life event (such as marriage, divorce or having a child)
- Not planning for the possibility of a disability in the future
- Overlooking the benefits of making gifts as a means of reducing your estate tax (thus saving a lot of money)
- Thinking that it's okay to choose just anyone to serve as the executor of your estate
- Forgetting that your minor children will need someone to raise them if you and your spouse pass on before they reach the legal age of 18
- Neglecting to learn more about the many estate planning documents, including a will, trust, power of attorney, and a living will, among others
As an estate planner, it can be a challenge to make all the right decisions at the right time. The reason for this is simple: You know this is important to you and your family, so you fret over every last detail. But that's a good thing. You want to pay attention to the details when creating an estate plan.
Now that you are familiar with some of the more common estate planning mistakes, you can combine this knowledge with your legal rights to get a better idea of what you should do next.
If you're lucky, you'll find that your estate plan is just how you want it. If not, don't hesitate to make a few changes at the appropriate time.