Estate and end of life planning are important and involve taking control of your life and the situation. It is essential to create a plan that avoids many of the common pitfalls and mistakes. It is also vital to create a plan that protects your loved ones and ensures you are aware of common Estate Planning mistakes so as to avoid them. Whether you are creating your first estate plan or you are updating an existing plan, get familiar with some of the most recent regulations and what you may overlook in order to create a flawless plan that accomplishes exactly what you envision while safeguarding your legacy. We at The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux have taken the liberty in sharing with you common estate planning mistakes that can be made and how to avoid them.
- Having a real plan in place.
- Having a “real plan” is essential! If you do not have a will or trust in place, state succession laws and the probate process may help determine where your assets go. The best solution is to be proactive and meet with an estate planner and financial planner to set up an end of life and estate plan.
- Ensure your estate plans are being updated over time.
- Estate planning is not a “set it and forget it” matter. Simply having a plan is not enough. Estate plans need to be updated after major life events, when your goals shift, or when public policy changes. For example, if you move to a new state, you may need to review your estate plan since many legal instruments like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney are state law driven documents, and moving can cause issues. If a new family member is born or someone passes away, beneficiary designations might need modifications.
- Discussing Your Estate Plans with Family and Friends.
- It is recommended that you have a brief conversation with your friends and family that you trust regarding your estate planning wants and objectives. Setting expectations now, where there is an opportunity for discussion if needed, could lessen the likelihood that there is any contention or disagreement after your passing.
- Forgetting about Power of Attorney or Healthcare Representatives
- As we have mentioned in our earlier articles, naming a Power of Attorney (either medical or financial) and/or Healthcare Proxy is important. These are the designated people who will step in to make decisions should you become incapacitated.
- If your Living Will does not designate a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy, make sure you have standalone documents that appoint a trusted person or people to make important financial and medical decisions for you.
- Adequate Record Keeping
- A living trust is just a part of the complete estate plan. In addition to your trust, your legal documents should include, at least, a pour-over will, a power of attorney for finances, a power of attorney for health care, and an advanced directive. Estate planning also includes financial planning and account beneficiary review. These beneficiary designations need to be carefully coordinated with the provisions of your legal documents.
- Consider Your Children’s Futures
- While your directions may be well-intentioned there are cases where the word could come back to haunt your children or heirs. If your children are very young, you may want to include directives stipulating how their guardian should spend their assets.
- Securing Your Estate Plan
- The very best estate plan is only as good as your heirs’ ability to find it. Think twice before putting your plan into a safety deposit box, it can become very complicated when your loved ones try to gain access after you pass away. Be certain to keep all of your Estate Planning documents together and in a safe place.
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ plan for a good end of life or estate plan. End of life planning ties into many areas of your life, so it is important to be proactive and work with a team of qualified professionals like The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux. Our experienced team has over 25 years of estate planning experience and can help you devise a plan that will work best for you and your family. The estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux are ready and committed to provide you best possible service and support.