Everyone, regardless of age and financial status, should protect their assets and loved ones with a well-crafted estate plan. However, even the best efforts at preparing for the future can be undermined by errors in the estate planning process. Unfortunately, these small missteps could prevent your final wishes from being carried out. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when planning for life’s uncertainties.
4 Estate Planning Errors You Can’t Afford to Make
1. Not Funding Your Living Trust
Setting up a living trust doesn’t mean all of the assets will automatically go into it. You have to decide which assets you want the trust to control and move them yourself before it becomes effective. If you don’t follow through, a probate case will be opened after you’ve passed away, and the assets will be subject to estate taxes.
2. Failing to Name Alternate Beneficiaries
Since life is full of unexpected events, there is always a possibility that your beneficiary will pass away before you do. Failing to name alternate beneficiaries means the assets have to go through probate before they can be distributed. Without any instructions, the court will decide who receives these assets.
3. Overlooking the Importance of an Attorney
You make some of the most significant decisions when estate planning, which is why no one should attempt it alone. It’s in your best interests to work with an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge of estate and probate laws. They will give advice on all aspects of an estate plan, including asset distribution, beneficiary designations, naming a guardian for any minor children, and planning for incapacitation.
4. Neglecting to Update Your Plan
One common error is to create a solid estate plan, put it away, and never think about it again. Over time, it’s likely that your original plan will no longer serve its intended purpose. Estate planning documents should be updated to reflect your current circumstances after all major life events, including marriage, divorce, childbirth or adoption, disability, or the death of a beneficiary.
Estate planning mistakes are costly and can leave your assets and loved ones at the mercy of state intestacy laws, probate court, and taxes. Fortunately, with the guidance of Alan A. Panek Law Office, S.C. in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, you can easily avoid these errors. Over the years, Attorney Panek has helped residents of central Wisconsin make complex decisions, so their beneficiaries have secure futures. Call his firm at (715) 421-4900 to schedule a planning session, or visit his website for more information on his specialties.