Having an estate plan is vital to protecting your assets and your loved one’s future. And contrary to what many believe, you don’t need to have a lot of assets or money to leave to your beneficiaries to create an estate plan. In fact, the reality is that everybody should have some sort of estate plan in place regardless of their finances, assets, or net worth.
Still, there are many common mistakes people make when it comes to their estate planning. By being aware of these mistakes and how to avoid them, you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.
Putting Off Your Estate Planning
One of the most common mistakes people make in regards to estate planning is simply waiting too long to do it. If you’ve been putting off creating an estate plan because you feel like you don’t need one until you’re much older, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the sooner you sit down and create your plan, the better protected you’ll be. Likewise, if something does happen to you, you won’t be leaving your loved ones with the headache of divvying up your assets and paying your debts.
Overlooking Power of Attorney
While most estate plans are heavily focused on finances and assets, it’s important not to skip designating a power of attorney as part of your plan. Specifically, a power of attorney is a person who is chosen to represent you and carry out your wishes in the event that you’re unable to do so for yourself (either due to death or medical reasons).
Designating a trustworthy and assertive power of attorney is one of the best ways to ensure that the terms outlined in your estate plan are actually carried out.
Failing to Discuss Your Plan
Once you’ve created an estate plan, it’s usually a good idea to discuss it with your loved ones. Specifically, make sure to talk to beneficiaries about what they can expect from the estate plan. If you have designated a power of attorney (or have chosen somebody to act in this function), be sure to discuss it with them first. If your loved ones don’t know about your estate plan, it can be much more challenging for the terms to be carried out when the time comes.
Not Updating Your Plan as Needed
Remember that the terms of your estate plan don’t need to be (and generally shouldn’t be) permanent. It’s a good idea to revisit your plan at least once every year or so to ensure that it still suits your needs. If not, you can make changes as needed to keep your plan as close to your current wishes as possible.
Get Help With Your Estate Planning Today
Still feeling overwhelmed with estate planning? It may be time to consult with an experienced legal team. Beasley & Ferber can help! Contact us today to schedule your estate planning consultation or to learn more about our practice.