Estate planning is not exactly the most popular topic around the dinner table. This obscurity has left many Americans in the dark about what estate planning really means and entails. When trying to actually form an estate planning, most people are going to wander somewhat aimlessly, opening the opportunity for making some commonly occurring mistakes.
Here’s the top five mistakes people make when creating an estate plan without legal guidance:
- Too young: Probably the most common mistake someone makes when it comes to estate planning is assuming they are “too young” to need one. The whole point of estate planning is making it easy for loved ones to handle your belongings and distribute your estate after you pass away. It might be a little unnerving but there is no telling when you will pass away, so you cannot be too young to require an estate plan. If you have children or a large estate, you definitely need to start thinking of making a plan, even if you are just in your 20s.
- Too small: Other than thinking you are too young to need an estate plan, another huge mistake is thinking that your estate is too small or valued too low. If you want to distribute certain inheritances to a certain loved one, you need to make a will or trust of some kind, even if you’re just thinking about a single heirloom, like a bracelet.
- One and done: Many people believe that having just a will covers every possible facet of estate planning; others think the same of living trusts. Both groups of people might be wrong, depending on their situation and estate. The wise move is checking with an estate planning attorney to see if there are any gaps in your will that could be improved with a trust, and vice versa.
- No revisions: As your life changes, you may also need to change your estate plan. People who complete one draft and lock it away for the rest of their lives are making a pretty big mistake. For example, imagine going through a divorce, not changing your estate plan, and your loved ones finding out your ex-spouse gets your home after you pass away. Probably not an ideal situation.
- No beneficiaries: People who do not have anyone they want to name as a beneficiary may mistakenly make no estate plan, thinking that no one will get their possessions after they pass away. This is incorrect. The state will distribute assets to relatives, close and distant, based on its laws. If no relatives can be identified, all of the property goes to the state to do as it pleases. If you have no relatives or no one you think deserves your estate, you may want to at least consider donating everything to charity.
Avoiding Those Mistakes, Preparing for the Future
It is understandable if you have made any of the aforementioned estate planning mistakes. As it was stated, they are quite common. If you want to correct or avoid them, all you need to do is contact Adams Law Firm. Our Katy estate planning attorneys can help you sort through your estate, create a functioning plan, and rest easy knowing you have handled something so important.