Everyone who plans their estate wants to set up a plan that meets their needs, is aligned with their desires for the future and adequately cares for their family members and loved ones. If you are worried about setting up an estate plan that is best for you and your family, there are a few pitfalls to try to avoid that can help.
Customize your plan and keep it up to date
Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all process and it is also not a once-and-done process. It is important to develop an estate plan that is uniquely tailored to your needs and that also keeps up with the changes in your life.
To begin with, it can be a mistake to never update a will or to forget to update beneficiary designations. This can include in a will but also in other areas impacted by an estate plan such as a life insurance policy or retirement plan. Updating a will is another important step to not forget when the estate planner’s life changes like if they remarry or get a divorce. You do not want to end up with your former spouse on your will but not your new one.
You probably also want to avoid treating all heirs the same. You may have children from a prior marriage that you want to protect which can be done through a carefully-crafted will and estate plan. It is also a good idea to decide if you want to begin giving money or assets away before you pass which can have certain advantages to it.
Finally, do not underestimate the importance of having trained guidance through the estate planning process. There are a lot of websites out there that promise to deliver forms for estate planning purposes. Often, these do not hold up in court, or they fail to take into account the unique needs of your estate and your family. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand your options.