Common Estate Planning Mistakes
Before creating your estate plan, it is vital that you understand the most common estate planning mistakes and why you must try to avoid these pitfalls.
Common Estate Planning Mistakes
The five most common estate planning mistakes people make include: not consulting an estate planning attorney, failing to update your estate plan, assuming that a will is the only estate planning document you must make, failing to create a revocable living trust, and not creating a healthcare power of attorney.
Not Consulting an Estate Planning Attorney
Failing to consult an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney is the most common and dire estate planning mistake people can make. Creating an estate plan is a complex process—even for people who have few assets. Thus, it can be detrimental to use an online will-writing plan or try to create a simple will with no guidance. Each state has different laws regarding estate planning. As such, choosing to not utilize a local licensed estate planning is the number one way to have errors in your will and other important estate planning documents. When dealing with wills and other estate planning documents, even one small error can drastically affect the effectiveness of your estate plan.
Failing to Update Your Estate Plan
As you get older, things change. Thus, you must continue to update your estate plan as your life progresses. However, one of the most common estate planning mistakes most people make is failing to consistently update their estate plan. Major life events such as having a child, getting married, getting divorced, getting a new job, retiring, and more will require that you update your estate plan. Even if you have not experienced a major life event, the general rule is to update your estate plan once every three to five years.
Assuming That a Will is the Only Estate Planning Document you Must Make
Another mistake people make is to assume that their last will and testament is the only estate planning document they need to focus on. However, a will only control assets in your name. This factor means that you must create additional documentation for jointly held assets, life insurance policies, or IRAs. With over 20 years of experience, the estate planning attorney at Antonoplos & Associates will help guide you through what is and what is not covered under a will.
Failing to Create a Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is the most important document you can create if trying to avoid the costly and time-consuming probate process. Failing to create this valuable document will add to the already high stress and cost your family will deal with after your passing.
Not Creating a Healthcare and Financial Power of Attorney
Without a healthcare directive or a healthcare power of attorney, no one else will be able to make end-of-life care decisions for you or have access to your medical record in the event you become incapacitated. While it is important to have a trusted individual take on this responsibility, without these documents, no one will be able to make medical decisions on your behalf according to your wishes.
Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information
Finally, for more on common estate planning mistakes, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Additionally, for general information regarding estate planning, check out our blog.