When you pass away, having an estate plan will ensure your assets are given to the right beneficiaries. Unfortunately, many people neglect to make a plan in the first place, so beneficiaries may not receive their intended inheritances. If you’re ready to start putting your strategy together, here are a few other estate planning mistakes to avoid.
4 Common Estate Planning Mistakes
1. Never Updating
Estate planning isn’t something done just once since the documents often become outdated as life goes on. To ensure your assets are properly distributed, periodically review your beneficiaries any time you experience a notable life event, such as getting married, having a baby, or buying property.
2. Only Providing Instructions for Death
People often assume estate planning documents only identify how to handle assets once the owner of the plan passes away. However, you can include many other instructions with help from a trusted attorney. For example, an advanced health care directive will advise on how to handle medical decisions if you become incapacitated or disabled.
3. Overlooking Probate Possibilities
Courts require estates of deceased individuals to go through probate. During this legal process, the court will need to review the entire applicable estate and use local intestacy laws to determine who will inherit the assets.
Since this process can get tedious, it’s smart to help your loved ones avoid probate, such as by listing assets and beneficiaries in a living revocable trust or designating shared belongings as community property with a spouse.
4. Choosing Irresponsible Executors or Trustees
An executor is a person you choose to carry out the terms of your will, while a trustee manages the accounts and assets attached to a trust. Often, people will name their spouses or children to assume these roles.
However, that may not always be the best choice, especially if the designated individual is irresponsible, not available, or in poor health. If you’re unsure of who to name, you can assign these responsibilities to a qualified attorney.
Since many areas of estate planning are easy to overlook, the Law Offices of Neil T Nakamura & Associates is here to help you avoid common mistakes in the process. Specializing in estate law on Oahu for more than four decades, their experienced attorneys will translate your wishes into binding legal instructions. Visit this Honolulu, HI, law office online to learn more about their services, or call (808) 945-7645 to schedule a free initial consultation.