Did you know there's more to estate planning than documenting your last will and testament? Not many people enjoy the thought of creating a will, but that's only part of caring for your estate and loved ones before you pass away.
While estate planning is a critical task, you don't have to do it alone. With the right estate planning attorney, you can avoid many common mistakes that create legal problems for your estate—and additional heartache for your heirs— after your death.
Where can things go wrong? Here are six estate planning mistakes to avoid.
1. Not Updating Your Plan
A plan with outdated assets and beneficiaries can send your estate into probate after your death. Creating a plan is a good start, but not updating estate plans can lead to expensive problems.
If you acquire or lose assets, contact your attorney to make changes to estate plans. When a beneficiary passes away before you do, update your plan with accurate information to prevent probate later.
2. Neglecting Health Care Directives
Your estate plan should start before your pass away. Who do you trust with your critical health decisions if you're no longer able to decide for yourself?
A healthcare directive makes your wishes clear regarding:
- Your power of attorney
- Your ongoing and final health care preferences
- A health care supervisor or conservator
- Long-term disability plans
The right attorney makes it a simple process to document care for your needs when you can no longer care for yourself or your finances.
3. Not Understanding Taxes
Estate and gift taxes can impact the final payouts to beneficiaries of your estate. In some cases, a gift from your estate can burden a loved one with expensive taxes that they can't financially cover.
An estate planning lawyer helps you understand the tax implications of property or cash gifts before or after you pass away.
4. Wrong Names on Deeds
It might seem like the right idea to put your child's name on the deed for your home, but it also can cause problems. An estate planning attorney can help you update property deeds with beneficiary names to minimize tax penalties and avoid probate.
5. Forgetting About Retirement Accounts
Connecting your IRA and other retirement accounts to a trust can help ensure your heirs receive those funds after your death. However, the wrong kind of trust can create a legal mess.
Work with a knowledgeable attorney to connect retirement accounts with trusts that benefit your heirs.
6. Not Having a Plan
Not having a plan is the biggest mistake you can make with your estate and final wishes. Even a simple plan is better than no plan at all.
Avoid Estate Planning Mistakes With the Right Attorney
We know it can be overwhelming to document and file a plan. Avoid estate planning mistakes with help from the attorneys of Monastra & Grater, LLC.
Our experienced team of lawyers is here to give you peace of mind about the final handling of your estate. Contact us to learn more about our services.