Every estate plan has potential weaknesses. While some of these shortcomings are sizable enough to create a risk of various mistakes, other estate plans are much better written. The following will review five of the most common mistakes made during the estate planning process.
Not Considering All of Your Options
When it comes to estate planning, people tend to make choices based on what they think they should be doing. In reality, there is simply no universal solution for what will work best. Instead, consider all of the various ways that you can achieve your goals. For example, the best way to deal with assets might involve creating a trust or making lifetime gifts. Your lawyer can ensure you lay out all of your options and choose the best ones for your situation.
Designating the Wrong Trustee
Some people wonder if it is possible to be their own Trustee. There are some situations when doing this is an excellent idea. For example, if you engage in estate planning to control how assets will be handled at your time of death or incapacity, you can name yourself as the Trustee of a revocable living trust. Once you name yourself as the Trustee, you can then name the individual who will take control of your assets in case you become incapacitated or pass away. Assets are then placed in the trust. As the Trustee, you have continued access to and control over these assets in generally the same way that you did before creating the trust. If you pass away or become incapacitated, your successor trustee will take over as the trustee.
Following the Wrong Advice
Not all advice is good, and there is a lot of it out there. To make sure that you receive the best advice possible, surround yourself with a team of knowledgeable estate planning professionals, which will likely include an estate planning lawyer and a financial advisor.
Using Trust Mills
When it comes to receiving advice, you should also be cautious of trust mills, which offer do-it-yourself forms that clients tailor to meet their estate planning goals. While these forms offer a quick and inexpensive method of estate planning, most people will not know that they have made estate planning errors while filling out these forms on their own. Like all other areas of law, estate planning is full of complex legal issues.
A detailed understanding of estate planning laws is required to make sure that a person avoids making any errors that will jeopardize the future of the estate. This is why you should reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney to help achieve your goals.
Failing to Account for All of Your Assets
Trusts and wills do not account for all of a person’s assets. Instead, some assets pass in accordance with a person’s life insurance plans or retirement accounts. Many people fail to adequately update the terms and designations in these separate accounts, which often results in these assets passing in a way that is not desired. Instead, retirement accounts should be periodically reviewed to make sure that they match your estate planning goals.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
One of the best ways to reduce the weaknesses in your estate plan is to obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer. Contact Dworken & Bernstein today to schedule a free case evaluation.