The estate planning process requires meticulous consideration and preparation to maximize its protections. Any mistakes you make when drafting your estate planning documents may override your final instructions and leave your heirs without some or all of their inheritances.
It is not always possible to account for every possible contingency. However, careful consideration of potential issues that may waylay your final instructions to your loved ones can help to prevent disputes, delays with settling your estate and minimize the involvement of probate court. Below are some common estate planning mistakes to avoid.
Not vetting the executor
Many people choose spouses and adult children as their executors without carefully vetting their options, not realizing that those individuals may have other plans in mind. An executor is responsible for taking care of a testator’s final affairs to ensure that all heirs receive their inheritances. To prevent your estate from mismanagement, take time to efficiently screen all executor options.
Not accounting for end-of-life expenses and lifestyle changes
Your estate plans do not just provide for your loved ones after your death, they can include provisions for you while are alive. Make sure your estate plans include a power of attorney and living trusts to provide your loved ones with instructions and resources on how they should manage your financial, medical and lifestyle needs if you become unable to care for yourself, live longer or die unexpectedly.
Review and update your estate plans often to ensure that you and your loved ones understand them and prevent mistakes with its execution.