Have you made mistakes with your estate plan?
Planning for the future can be an emotionally challenging process as it requires one to consider his or her own mortality and what will happen to personal property after passing. When you created your estate plan, you likely make your decisions based on what seemed best at the time. If a significant amount of time has passed since you last reviewed your estate plan, you may benefit from taking a careful look at the existing documents to determine if any adjustments are necessary.
This review will also identify any mistakes or problems that are currently in your plan. Many estate planning mistakes are not evident until it is time to execute the plan, leaving you, your loved ones and others in a difficult position. Correcting inadvertent errors and bringing your plans up to date will help you feel confident regarding your interests in the future.
Common errors found in estate plans
One of the most common mistakes people make regarding their future legal and financial interests is failure to have an estate plan in place. If you die without a will, state laws and the decisions of a court will determine what happens to all of your personal property. In addition to this misstep, other common estate planning mistakes include:
- Having the wrong beneficiary listed on an account
- Failure to address estate tax concerns in asset distribution plans
- Not adjusting plans as heirs and beneficiaries age and their needs change
- Naming the wrong person as the executor of the estate
- Not changing plans after moving across state lines
- Failure to include plans for philanthropic or charitable giving after death
Each estate plan is unique, and every person will want to accomplish something different with his or her plan. However, even a simple inadvertent mistake could keep you from accomplishing your goals. A common mistake that could result in significant negative consequences is failure to update your plan after major life changes, including divorce, remarriage, the birth of children, changes in the family and more.
Take action today
If you are unsure of whether you have errors in your estate plan, it is in your interest to take action to review your plans and ensure all of your documents are correct. An assessment of your current plans by a knowledgeable professional, long-term needs and other factors can help you make decisions that will allow you to face your future with confidence.