While every situation and estate plan is unique, there are a handful of common mistakes you can avoid with proper planning. Whether you’re doing your first estate plan with a small estate or you’ve built a substantial enterprise and large estate, you can take the time to avoid common estate mistakes.
- Being Clear About Your Goals: Estate planners have a number of
tools they can use to customize your estate plan to meet your personal goals.
Take some time to reflect on these goals before meeting with your planner. Even
if you’re not clear on the mechanics, knowing what you want the result to be
makes it easier for your estate attorney to create a plan that works for you.
This also means you need to pay attention to your attorney. When setting up an
estate plan, there are often steps you need to take even after leaving the
office. If you’ve set up a trust, for example, you need to be proactive about
transferring assets into that trust.
- Keep Beneficiaries Updated: As your life changes, you marry,
have kids, divorce, remarry, have more children, have grandchildren, have
caregivers, make new friends, and more happens, you’ll want to take the time to
update your estate plan and, in particular, the list of beneficiaries. This
means updating not only your will, but the beneficiary designations for life
insurance, joint bank accounts, annuities, and other securities. Failure to
update this information means funds may go to a parent, sibling, or ex-spouse
simply because you forgot to update a form filed years ago.
- Updating Major Assets: When you revisit your estate plan,
hopefully every few years, you’ll want to revisit the major assets you own
including real estate, valuable personal goods, businesses, securities, and
other assets to ensure the way they are held is in line with your estate goals.
This may mean taking the time to transfer new assets into your trusts. You want
to make sure the arrangement makes sense and meets your goals as well as helps
minimize federal estate tax.
- Update Advanced Directive: Your medical decisions also need to be updated periodically, especially as you age. You may need to appoint a new healthcare power of attorney, change your burial preferences, or direct care based on a new illness. Any time you update your estate plan, you should revisit this document as well.
Reach out to an estate planning professional to discuss your options, update your plan, or make sure you aren’t making any of these common mistakes. At Dunn Law Firm, we take the time to get to know you and your specific situation in order to create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your goals. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 to set up a free consultation today.