Regardless of the assets you hold or the size of your estate, the same mistakes can quickly derail any plans you might have for distributing your property. Luckily, you can easily avoid many of these mistakes with a little extra planning. The most common errors in estate planning relate to:
1. Not creating a plan in the first place
This advice likely seems obvious. However, far too many people believe that estate planning is reserved for the wealthy when, in reality, everyone should have some type of plan outlining their wishes.
2. Omitting plans for long-term medical care or disability
A good estate plan accounts for how you want property and assets distributed upon your death. A great estate plan, on the other hand, also includes information about what kind of medical care you wish to have should you become incapacitated. Powers of attorney for both financial and medical matters ensure you get the care you want – and safeguard your finances.
3. Overlooking family dynamics
Navigating complex family relationships is often even more difficult than deciding the logistics of your estate plan. In fact, in a survey by Key Private Bank, 77% of financial advisers said family dynamics topped their list of concerns for estate planning. From blended families to sibling rivalries, failing to account for these family relationships can lead to serious issues down the road.
4. Forgetting to update
As we discussed in a previous post, updating your estate plan at the right time is essential to its effectiveness. Major life events, such as getting married or having a child, often trigger a need to revisit your plan. It is especially important to update beneficiary designations regularly.
5. Not funding the trust
Many people choose to include a revocable trust (also known as a “living trust”) in their estate plan. A revocable trust helps to keep your estate out of probate and streamline the process. However, all too often, they omit an essential step: transferring legal title of intended trust assets to the trust. Transfer of title is different for different types of assets, but in most cases, the process is relatively easy and inexpensive.
To learn more about how to create a robust estate plan that will avoid common missteps, contact an Estate Planning lawyer at the Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222. For over 100 years, our firm has assisted individuals and families from across Northwestern Pennsylvania in a variety of legal matters. We can help you protect the assets you have worked so hard to build.