Estate planning can be complex but it doesn’t have to be more difficult than necessary. If you are planning your estate, avoid these common mistakes that can keep your legal and financial goals out of reach:
- Failing to update the plan: Priorities and life circumstances change from year to year and decade to decade. While some priorities in your life will never change, some may, which is why it is important to check in on your estate plan every now and then to determine if revisions are necessary. Events that may warrant a change include a divorce, adoption or significant change in your financial situation.
- Failing to name beneficiaries: You may have selected beneficiaries in your will or perhaps in a trust, but what about your employer-provided life insurance or accidental death policy? What about your IRA? Have you named contingent beneficiaries in case the first selections are no longer alive when the time comes to distribute your assets? Taking care of these issues now keeps you in charge of the decisions and not the state.
- Choosing the wrong power of attorney: Selecting the person who will make important decisions regarding your financial and/or medical issues is one of the most important aspects of estate planning. A power of attorney should be someone you can trust and someone with the personality to make tough decisions and to stand up in the face of disagreement from others. It also helps if they are local. If they lack any of these characteristics, someone else may be a better choice for the role.
With knowledgeable guidance, you can avoid some of the mistakes that can derail your most important plans. By making the right decisions today, you can ensure that you are doing what is best for your loved ones and your legacy.