The biggest estate planning mistakes can be devastating to your loved ones. We hear the same things over and over when it comes to estate planning. “I don’t need an estate plan, my loved ones will get everything.”. “My family can decide what to do with my assets.”. “I’m healthy, I don’t need an estate plan.”. These are all excuses that can only lead to devastating circumstances for you and your family. Here are the biggest estate planning mistakes you can make.
Mistake #1- Not having an estate plan.
The biggest estate planning mistakes come from not having an estate plan. It’s easy to assume that your loved ones will get your assets when you pass, but without an estate plan, the process of administering your estate can be a mess. This opens up the opportunity for outsiders, or even family members, to fight for a part of your estate when you may not have wanted them to receive anything. Having an estate plan protects all your assets and makes sure they end up in the right hands. Without a plan, your loved ones would need to go through the probate process. Probate is a public process that takes your estate through court so that a judge is deciding where your assets go.
Mistake #2- Not being specific enough.
There are basic estate plans that may be enough to protect your assets, but a proper estate plan should be specific to more than what you want done with your assets. Make sure you’re including specific amounts in your plan. How much do you want certain people to receive? You don’t have to split things equally. Include personal items so there’s no confusion when your loved ones are disbursing your things. It’s not easy to think about, but making these decisions ahead of time keeps the peace in your family. You don’t want your loved ones fighting over possessions during a time when they are already hurting.
Mistake #3- Not having a plan for emergencies.
Your estate plan isn’t just about your money. The biggest estate planning mistakes can also include a lack of plans for emergencies. In case of an emergency, your estate plan should include decisions for your healthcare. Choose the person who will be your proxy if you become incapacitated and tell them what your wishes would be. It can be such a scary experience for your loved ones, so have a plan to take those hard decisions off of them.
Let us help you avoid these mistakes. We take the time to get to know you and learn your goals, so that your estate plan is tailored to fit exactly what you want. If you’re in Illinois or Wisconsin, contact us to learn how to start the process.
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.