You've most likely heard about the importance of making plans for your next phase of life, which includes estate planning. Estate planning can offer peace of mind and ensure that your interests, assets, and loved ones are well-protected, even after your death. However, while estate planning is important, it's one of the most loathed steps when creating a financial plan. After all, no one likes to really think about their death. In addition, estate planning is a fertile ground for deadly mistakes. Because estate planning missteps can greatly diminish your financial legacy, ensure that you avoid some common oversights. Below are four pitfalls your estate planning attorney will want you to avoid.
1. Handling the estate planning process yourself
Estate planning is one financial planning step that is filled with tax and legal consequences. Because estate law is always changing, it's important that you call in a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer to assist you. Therefore, whether you need a trust or a will, working with an expert who can help you complete all the paperwork is crucial.
2. Skipping healthcare representatives or power of attorney
It's critical that you include a healthcare proxy or power of attorney in your plan. These are the people who will make decisions on your behalf in case you're incapacitated. Keep in mind that these roles will dissolve after you pass away. Suppose you already have a will, but it doesn't include a healthcare proxy or power of attorney. In that case, your estate planning lawyer can help you prepare a standalone document that appoints trusted people to make crucial medical and financial decisions on your behalf.
3. Having an outdated will
If you made your will several years ago and you haven't updated it, chances are it is already outdated. Keep in mind that an estate plan isn't a document that you set once and forget. Your estate planning attorney will advise you to review your estate planning documents after every few years. It's also important that you review your plan after a major change in your family status, including a marriage, birth, divorce, or death.
4. Naming a minor as your beneficiary
No one can predict when they're going to die, which may tempt you to name a minor as a beneficiary. However, in case of an untimely death, your underage children won't be able to inherit your estate directly. In such a case, your assets will be passed on to a guardian, something you likely want to avoid. To prevent such a mistake, your estate planning lawyer will help you name a trustee or custodian of your choice to manage your children's inheritance until they legally become an adult.
Because of the numerous pitfalls involved in the estate planning process, it's advisable that you speak with an estate planning attorney, such as https://www.linskylaw.com, regardless of your situation.
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