Most people don’t relish thoughts about the end of their life. However, avoiding the subject altogether can create problems for descendants after a person’s passing. This is why estate planning is of such vital importance here in California and elsewhere. A comprehensive estate plan not only reveals a person’s wishes for the distribution of his or her property after death, but often contains instructions pertaining to end-of-life care and plans for the care of minor children or adults under that person’s care. Experts say there are several common errors that people make when creating an estate plan.
The most obvious error is not having an estate plan at all; however, it is also important to do it properly. Some people choose not to work with professionals to create their estate plan, which can be a big mistake. Working with an attorney, a financial advisor and other related professionals can prevent many problems. Those same professionals can also help keep the plan updated once it’s created.
Some people may neglect to ensure that the beneficiaries listed on retirement accounts or life insurance line up with those listed in the estate plan documentation. This can cause a great deal of confusion, which an executor may or may not be able to solve. The choice of executor is also of great importance as a person’s relationship to him or her could change over time.
Another mistake is failing to plan for how one’s future may affect the estate plan. Some people don’t take state and federal estate taxes into account, as those laws can change over time and cost someone more money than they wish. Additionally, the plan needs to contain directives in case an estate plan owner becomes incapacitated at some point, to ensure his or her wishes for care are honored.
The best course of action may be to utilize an attorney who specializes in estate planning. An experienced attorney here in California will work with an estate owner to come up with the best plan for that person. Doing so can prevent any issues before they might happen.