Big Estate Planning Mistakes Many People Make (But Can Easily Be Avoided)

Estate planning law firm, estate planner, estate planProperly organizing your financial and personal assets, planning for disability, and leaving your legacy should be is the central goals of estate planning. It is important the focus stays on your personal goals and making the transition smoother for your loved ones. Unfortunately, many people who opt to “go it alone” and not consult with an estate planning attorney, make some bad (and totally preventable) mistakes that adversely affect their estate plans.

Below are three common estate planning mistakes that occur, unfortunately, far too often:

1. Never taking the time to even come up with an estate plan.
This one really bugs me, but it’s an undeniable fact – thousands of people fail to take the time to create an estate plan. The result? When you pass away, the laws of intestacy will apply and there’s no guarantee that your estate will be distributed to the people you care about most. For example, see our previous post on Dying without a Will (link to previous blog)

2. Throwing together an estate plan without ever talking with an estate planning attorney.
The people who commit this estate planning mistake get an “A” for effort, but they get an “F” execution. Failing to speak with an estate planning attorney about your plan increases the chances you committed a drafting error and/or you miss out on some important estate planning tips and strategies that estate planning attorneys are aware of and utilize for their clients.

Common estate planning problems include not planning for disability (both mental and physical), not planning properly for how your assets will be transferred on death, not using proper tax planning, and not focusing on your personal planning goals. A huge mistake people make is simply using a one-size-fits-all document. Unfortunately, those types of plans simply do not work.

3. Making an estate plan, but throwing it into a lock box and never updating it.
It’s a painful realization when your well-crafted estate plan winds up causing pain, rather than relief for your loved ones. A common example is leaving assets to a child whose ex-spouse can legally claim a portion of those assets because your plan was not updated after your child got divorced.

At InsightLaw, we can help you and your loved ones prevent all of these mistakes. In fact, we emphasize maintenance and continuing education as a facet of our estate planning services. This makes us unique since some firms will help you create an estate plan, but fail to routinely update your plan, or educate your helper’s beneficiaries to create plans that work when they need to establish a time, each year, to sit down and talk with you about updating your estate plan. To learn more, contact us to set up a meeting.