Estate planning plays an important role in every adult’s life. A well-crafted and carefully managed plan will ensure your wishes are fulfilled in the event of incapacitation or death. However, getting your affairs in order is complicated, and errors can occur easily, especially if you don’t have an experienced lawyer helping you navigate the process. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid as you prepare for the future.
What Errors Should You Avoid When Estate Planning?
1. Relying Only on a Will
A will is an essential document to have in place, but it isn’t the only estate planning tool available. You can use a will only to control assets that are solely in your name. This means they generally can’t include instructions regarding life insurance policies, IRA accounts, and assets that are jointly owned.
To ensure your estate plan addresses all your objectives, a lawyer can help determine which documents you should incorporate, such as a financial power of attorney and advanced health care directive. These will express your wishes if incapacitation occurs.
2. Not Funding a Trust
Setting up a trust has many benefits, including the bypass of probate. However, it will only work if it’s properly funded. A number of people make the mistake of establishing a trust and forgetting to transfer property into it.
Assets such as real estate, bank accounts, and securities must be titled in the trust’s name for them to be distributed to your beneficiaries without going through probate.
3. Failing to Update the Plan
As you encounter different life events, your circumstances will change. This can impact the details of your estate plan in a variety of ways. As such, it should be reviewed and updated often to ensure it still represents your wishes.
Common reasons to make modifications are marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, and a major increase or decrease in assets. If you relocate to a different state, you’ll also need to meet with a lawyer to see if your documents will be honored by the state’s laws.
Whether you’re estate planning for the first time or need to make changes to a current plan, trust Stephen B. Kaufman, P.C. to guide you through each step. This Bronx, NY, lawyer has years of experience helping clients implement strategies that will protect their loved ones and their legacy. This firm can also help with matters of litigation and elder law. Call (718) 822-0500 to schedule a consultation, or visit them online for more information on how Attorney Kaufman and his staff can assist you in achieving your estate planning goals.