Six Estate Planning Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
Estate planning, including creating wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other documents, are not easy to discuss. This makes it even easier to make mistakes when you are planning your estate. While these mistakes can cause issues during the life of the person who the estate plan is in place for, it can cause even more dramatic problems after their death. Here are some of the most common estate planning mistakes we see in our office:
- Not having an attorney create your estate plan – It isn’t uncommon for people to use online drafting services to create estate plan documents for themselves and their loved ones. Unfortunately, these online services result in a lot of mistakes. The bottom line, have an experienced estate planning attorney draft your documents so you can have peace of mind knowing they have been done correctly. The same applies to having your documents changed and updated. Don’t try to make these changes without your attorney.
- Not updating your estate plan enough – Simply creating your plan isn’t enough. When a change has occurred in your family such as a divorce, marriage, or birth, you likely need to update your plan. Even if you think you don’t, it is a good idea to review your end of life documents with your estate planning attorney at least every five years.
- Not understanding your estate plan –A will only controls assets that are in your own name. It will not impact any assets that are jointly held. This means you need to know what your will does and does not do and what other documents you need to have in place for all of your assets.
- Not creating a living trust –If you talk to an attorney it is likely that they may recommend putting your assets in a revocable living trust. This may help save money and time after you die by avoiding probate. If you do have a trust in place, it is also necessary to ensure that your assets are owned by the trust. This is called funding your trust and your attorney can, and should, help you with this process.
- Not discuss your living will with your family –Your living will should be part of your estate plan so that your end of life wishes are well known. You need to ensure that you have discussed these wishes with your family so they know what you want to happen.
- Failing to plan for long-term care – Your estate plan should cover many of your long-term goals and wishes, and one of them should be to protect you from the high cost of long-term care. If you need to live in a nursing home, many of your assets, even all of them, could disappear due to the high cost of this care. Your estate plan needs to take this into consideration and should protect your assets from disappearing. This may include purchasing insurance for long-term care or placing certain assets in irrevocable protection trusts.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you have questions about your current estate plan or would like to create an estate plan, contact Tampa estate planning attorney David Toback today and let our office ensure your final wishes are protected.