Estate planning can be an overwhelming task, leading many people to make mistakes by taking shortcuts or pushing off important tasks to complete your plan. Whether you already have an established estate plan or you’re thinking of starting one, estate planning shortcuts can lead to costly mistakes for you and your loved one. Read on to learn about common estate planning shortcuts to avoid and what you can do instead.
Estate Planning Shortcuts Can Lead to Big Problems for Your Loved Ones
We always recommend consulting with an estate planning professional in your state when it comes to creating or updating your estate plan. Laws can vary by state and your plan should be specifically tailored not only to your state’s laws, but also to your personal situation. Wherever you are in the estate planning process, these mistakes and shortcuts should be something to keep in mind as you’re updating or starting an estate plan.
Not funding your trust.
With a trust-based estate plan, the last and most important step is to fund the trust. Funding your trust means you are putting your assets into the trust so that when the time comes your assets are transferred properly. This task can seem daunting, but without completing this step you risk losing your assets to the probate system that your plan should protect them from. Your loved ones could potentially lose access to all that you’ve worked so hard for and that you intended to leave to them. We have guides to help with this process and have options to further help with funding your trust. If you need help, contact us.
Not naming the right beneficiaries.
You may have every intention of leaving all your assets to your children. This is of course something that you can do, but if something were to happen to you tomorrow, would your children be able to handle what comes next? If you have young children, or even children who are older but not fully independent, it may be best to think of other ways to get your assets to them if something were to happen to you. There are many options to make sure your children are taken care of. You could set up trusts with age stipulations, or even name conservators who would manage the money until the children are able to. This should all be discussed as you are naming potential guardians to care for your children in the event of an emergency.
Not clearly stating your intentions for assets.
This goes back to naming the right beneficiaries for your assets. As we are aging and entering the stages of our lives in which we may be handling care for our parents, you may have a reverse situation in which you need to look at how your or your parents’ assets are named and who they’re meant to be left to. People think it’s easier to just add someone to a bank account, but this could ultimately cause issues when it comes time to disburse assets. If you have been added to a parent’s bank account, or even if you’re adding your own children to your bank account, consider better options through an estate plan to ensure there will be no issues. The right people can gain access to the right assets through proper estate planning.
Your estate plan is there for you and your loved ones to protect all you’ve worked so hard for. Don’t let these small mistakes cost you or your family. If you are in Illinois or Wisconsin, let us help. Contact us to learn how to get started and protect your family for generations to come.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.