According to a recent study, 64 percent of Americans do not have a basic will. While it can be hard to predict what will happen after a person dies, there are several common estate planning mistakes that people make. A common misconception that many people have is that estate plans are only for the wealthy.
However, a will could help anyone who became incapacitated and could not make decisions on his or her own. Experts say that anyone over the age of 18 should consider having a will. Another big mistake that people make is to assume that an individual needs a complicated estate for a will to be of any value.
However, in the absence of a will, state laws of intestacy will dictate how a decedent's assets will be distributed and what portion the beneficiaries will receive. In addition, pet owners may want to make provision for those animals in a will. This may prevent a faithful pet from being sent to a shelter because no one was designated to take care of it. A pet trust can be created to provide money and direction for how a pet is to be cared for if its owner cannot do so.
Talking to an estate planning lawyer may help an individual create a comprehensive and thorough estate plan. Anyone who is over the age of 18 may create a will or living trust. Such a document may spell out who receives a person's assets and whether or not to end that person's life if circumstances may warrant it. While an attorney is not necessary to make a will or trust legally binding, it may increase the odds that it is structured properly.
Source: Forbes, "7 Common Estate-Planning Blunders Not To Make", Sheryl Nance-Nash, September 15, 2014