Planning your estate can prevent disputes amongst your family members, as well as help you retain control of the distribution of your assets. Given the complexity of most plans, you will want to avoid missteps that could jeopardize your final wishes.
When you know some common mistakes, you can implement strategies to prevent them from happening to you.
Having only the intention to plan your estate, unfortunately, has little to no validity in a court of law. Without formal legal documents signed by you, all of the assets you have worked so hard for lay in the hands of the court. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is failing to plan at all. According to CNBC, equally as detrimental is forgetting to update your plan after significant changes in your life.
An estate plan includes details about your life and finances that are sensitive and require confidentiality. However, it is important to periodically update your family and beneficiaries of your intentions. Not saying anything to anyone may reduce the effectiveness of your plan. Keeping certain people informed might reduce confusion, encourage unity and prevent discord.
Naming a power of attorney and a health care proxy can help you retain control of critical decisions even after incapacitation. You can rely on the knowledge of people you have previously talked to for help making decisions about your health and finances when you reach a point where you cannot reasonably make those decisions alone.
Not having adequate support is another mistake that could hinder your plan. Seeing your strategy as something that requires continual effort and upkeep can help you maintain a plan that will provide the best possible support to you and your surviving loved ones.