Five Mistakes to Avoid When Estate Planning

Estate planning is an excellent tool to make sure you and your loved ones protect your assets and plan for the future. When you hire an experienced Arvada estate planning lawyer, they can make this stressful time easy for you and ensure that you and your family are setting yourselves up for the best future possible. It’s also important to realize the errors you should avoid and common mistakes people make when estate planning. Five common estate planning mistakes include the following:

Starting Too Late

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in terms of estate planning is to start planning too late. If you don’t have an estate plan in place and you pass away unexpectedly, you could leave your family in a difficult position. If you have many relatives and children and no set plan in place, there might be confusion or disagreements about who is entitled to which assets. Additionally, your estate could be held responsible for a significant amount of taxes that could’ve been avoided had you started planning earlier. Finally, if you start planning early, you can often ensure that your surviving loved ones don’t have to go through probate in order to claim what’s rightfully theirs. 

Not Having Goals

In order to estate plan effectively, you need to know what your goals are. Do you know how you want your assets distributed?  Do you know how to make this happen? Most people who aren’t experts don’t even know where to start. Once you know your goals, you can speak with an experienced estate planning attorney who will help you develop a plan to fulfill those goals. If you’re not positive what you want to do, you can start discussing this with a professional and have them help you decide what you want to accomplish through estate planning.

Failing to Revisit And Update Your Estate Plan

Another mistake many people make when estate planning is failing to revisit and update their plan. While it isn’t necessary to do this each week or month, it’s a good idea to take a look at everything involved in your estate plan every year or so. Ensure that the beneficiaries you listed for life insurance, retirement accounts, and anything else important are still the same ones you wish to use. If you don’t review and update your plan, you could pass away without all of your intentions in place, complicating estate matters for the rest of your family.

Not Updating Powers of Attorney

Typically, you will name two powers of attorney: a medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney. While you are estate planning, it’s essential to make sure that you’ve actually designated powers of attorney and that the people you previously designated are still the ones you wish to have to make decisions for you. If you fail to update these important designees, and then you become ill and unable to care for yourself, whoever you originally named will have the power to make many decisions for you. 

Forgetting About Taxes

When estate planning, it’s important to remember the implication that taxes will have on your estate and your family once you pass away. If you plan appropriately, you and a professional can utilize strategies and develop a plan with the least amount of tax liability possible on your estate and to your loved ones. 

If you have any questions or concerns about estate planning, it’s wise to contact an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible to start discussing your options and to develop a plan.