Most people work hard their entire life to create wealth. It is only natural that they care about what will happen to their assets when they pass on. For many, their assets must end up in the hands of the people they care about or the causes they believe in.
An estate plan is a legal tool that you can use to safeguard your assets, loved ones and interests. However, you need to avoid a couple of mistakes during the estate planning process to ensure that your wishes are honored when you are no longer around to make important decisions.
Failing to create an estate plan
Despite its sounding like a sophisticated process, estate planning is not just reserved for the rich and famous. In fact, the term “estate” has nothing to do with expensive properties. An estate plan gives you the power to decide what will happen to your earthly belongings when you are no longer around to issue instructions. Failing to have an estate plan at the time of your passing, or dying intestate (without a will), can impose serious hardship on your loved ones and result in your estate being tied up in probate court.
Failing to update your estate plan
As time passes, so are the life’s circumstances that can necessitate an update on your estate plan. You must update your estate plan to reflect changes in your financial and personal situations. Marriage, divorce, birth or death of a beneficiary should necessitate an update on your estate plan. Changes to your tax laws and relocation to another state should also prompt a review of your estate plan.
Doing it yourself
Downloadable estate planning templates are quite convenient and easily accessible. However, they do not come with strategic and thoughtful insights that you can gain when working with an experienced estate planning expert. Besides, failing to execute your will properly can render this important estate planning document invalid.
The estate planning process is more complex than most folks assume. Making costly mistakes while creating your estate plan can severely set you and your loved ones back, leaving a trail of uncertainties regarding your wishes.