After practicing law for about 25 years now, very little surprises me anymore. However, I am still amazed when I consult with intelligent individuals who have used such poor judgment when it comes to planning their estates. Often these are very diligent persons who have carefully planned their retirement and yet have made very bad estate planning decisions. Here are a few of the more common estate planning errors:
- Failure to have a plan. If you fail to plan your estate, state law ultimately will determine how your estate will be distributed. The problem is that it may not be the plan you or your family would have preferred.
- Do it yourself plan. With the proliferation of websites to help you plan your estate, it is becoming more common for people to create their own estate plans. However, planning an estate should be the culmination a well thought out plan that is uniquely tailored to your situation, not a one size fits all plan.
- Failure to Review Beneficiary Designations and Account Titles. Despite what your will or trust might say, the title of your assets and your beneficiary designations will determine the distribution of those assets. This can result in assets being distributed to the wrong persons or to the right people, but in the wrong percentages.
- Failure to plan for disability. Many people will plan how their estate should be distributed when they die, yet fail to plan for their estate if they should become disabled. Who will make health care or financial decisions or how you will pay for long term care costs are just a few of the important decisions that you could be faced with.
Planning your estate is extremely important. Don’t leave it to chance or try to do it on the internet. See an experience attorney today.