One of the most important things that a person can do in their life is to plan how their assets will be handled once they are gone. Unfortunately, because estate planning is such a complicated, emotionally fraught process, it is very easy for the process to go wrong, leaving your loved ones and executor to untangle the mess while also trying to deal with their grief.
Since estate planning mistakes are so common, it’s crucial that you learn about the process so that you can avoid common pitfalls. Here are a few common estate planning mistakes that you should be aware of, plus advice for hiring a lawyer to help guide you through the process.
The biggest mistake that families make when estate planning is not considering every possible contingency. Life is unpredictable, which means that your estate plan should be constructed in such a way that all possibilities are accounted for. For example, does your plan take into account what will happen if you die before your spouse and vice versa? If you both pass at the same time, are there instructions for which of your children or inheritors receives what?
In addition, your estate plan should consider that one or all of your named inheritors may be unable to take ownership of your estate. Having a detailed conversation about every possibility will go a long way towards making sure your estate is properly planned.
Don’t Try to People Please
Estate planning is one of the most emotionally loaded legal processes that there is. In addition to issues of wealth, which almost always causes problems, there is the factor of passing on items and possessions that have a great deal of sentimental value. In fact, it is common for family rifts to be caused due to fighting over keepsakes that the deceased held in high regard.
A big mistake that people make when planning their estate is trying to people please and not explaining why they’re leaving a specific item to a specific person. If you have something you want to leave to a given loved one, make sure you explain why while you’re still alive. Detailing your reasons for your estate plan clearly will help to eliminate confusion and, hopefully, reduce the chance for family infighting once you are gone.
Make Sure Your Plan Isn’t Cash Deficient
Even the most detailed estate plans often fail to take one important factor into consideration: Taxes. When you’re passing along assets like IRAs and other finances, your estate will have to pay taxes on these items, which means you want to make sure your loved ones aren’t left to foot the bill.
While estate planning, make sure that you include enough cash assets to pay the taxes on all of the taxable assets that you’re leaving behind. Not only will this make things easier on your executor, it ensures that the IRS can’t come after your loved ones.
Get Help with Estate planning
Estate planning is easier when you have the right legal help, which is why you need to hire an attorney from the Stano Law Firm. We specialize in elder legal issues and estate planning, and we would be proud to help you with this important task. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you.