You have the best intentions when creating an estate plan, but no one would blame you if you were in a hurry to finish it off. While estate planning isn’t the most exciting thing you’ll ever do, it’s critical to the current and future well-being of you and your loved ones.
It’s easy to make one or more estate planning mistakes when you’re not paying close attention to everything you’re doing. Here are five to avoid:
- Putting it off: You think you’ll always have time for estate planning in the future, but then something bad happens. The sooner you create an estate plan, the sooner you’ll give yourself and your family peace of mind.
- Neglecting to update your estate plan: Creating an estate plan one time isn’t good enough. You need to review it regularly and make changes as necessary. For example, if you recently had a child or are going through a divorce, it’s likely to alter your estate plan.
- Choosing the wrong executor or trustee: For example, with a will, you’ll choose an executor to handle your affairs after your death. If this person isn’t 100 percent on board with the idea of doing this in the appropriate manner, it can cause all sorts of problems.
- Forgetting to plan for a disability: Your estate plan can protect you in the event of an incapacity, such as the result of a serious injury or illness. Disability planning is also a good time to think about where and how you’d receive long-term care should it be necessary.
- DIY estate planning: The DIY craze is in full effect, but there’s a big difference between painting your home yourself and creating your own estate plan. Estate planning is best left to the professionals, as they understand the process and are familiar with all applicable state and federal laws.
Since it’s easy to make one or more of these estate planning mistakes, you should keep up your guard as you make key decisions.
When you combine knowledge of common mistakes with an idea of what you want to accomplish, you’re better suited to create an estate plan that will benefit you now and your loved ones upon your death.