Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Avoid

If you have made the decision to establish your estate plan, congratulations on taking an important step to protecting and promoting a future you want for yourself and your loved ones. The legal tools used in estate planning can play a critical role in furthering your goals and bringing you peace of mind in the face of an otherwise uncertain future. As you embark on your estate planning journey, there are some common estate planning mistakes you should make every effort to avoid.

Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Avoid

One of the most common mistakes made in estate planning is putting an estate plan in place and then never revisiting it. Most people operate under the mistaken assumption that estate planning is a set it and forget it type of thing. This, however, is a dangerous misconception and one that can render an estate plan effective at accomplishing your goals. You see, an estate plan is so much a reflection of your current life situation and goals. As we all know, however, life and goals change along the way. People die, babies are born, marriages happen, divorces happen, and there are other significant ups and downs of life that impact everything along the way. Make sure that your estate plan reflects your most current life circumstances and goals. Make updates accordingly. Without these updates, your estate plans may be rendered ineffective at best, and detrimental at worst.

There is also the common estate planning misstep of failing to follow through with estate planning related tasks. Not everything in your estate plans will likely be accomplished in one meeting. There will be other critical tasks to perform in order to help ensure your estate plans become effective. For instance, if you have established a trust, there will be other steps you will need to take in order to make the trust functional and effectively. Perhaps most notably, this will involve actually funding the trust which happens by transferring ownership of assets into the trust’s name. Without funding the trust, it is effectively useless.

Other steps you will need to take to help ensure you are maximizing the effectiveness of your estate plan will likely include things like updating beneficiaries and designating accounts as “payable on death.” Be sure to list or update beneficiaries on things like life insurance policies and retirement accounts. With the proper beneficiary listed, these account proceeds will pass to the beneficiary without needing to go through probate. The same is true of those designated payable on death accounts with listed beneficiaries.

Another common estate planning mistake to avoid it not taking the steps to try and learn about all of the legal tools and protections available to you. Find out more about all of the estate planning protections that you may want to incorporate into your estate plan. It is about so much more than wills. There are estate planning protections that can further your goals, protect your beneficiaries, and increase the value of your estate.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Learn more about what a comprehensive estate plan can accomplish for you and the ones you love most. The dedicated estate planning attorneys at Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace are here to help. Contact us today.