Many people go into the process of estate planning with the idea that they simply want to get it out of the way. They don't care to learn more about the difference between wills and trusts. They don't care to think about what will happen to them in the event of incapacitation.
While it's okay that you don't want to spend too much time on the estate planning process, you can't put it on the backburner and hope for the best. Doing so can result in a variety of mistakes that cause trouble for you and your family now and in the future.
Here are five estate planning mistakes that you never want to make:
- Assuming a will and a trust do the same thing: While both of these are used to pass on your assets to a person or people of your choosing, they're very different in how they're created and structured.
- Thinking you don't need an estate plan: Don't assume that "someone will figure it out" when you pass on. This isn't the way it works, as the state will step in to dictate what happens to your estate.
- Neglecting to update your will or manage your trust: After you create a will or trust, review it once or twice a year to ensure that it still meets your every requirement. You'll find that you need to make changes as the years go by.
- Forgetting to plan for a disability: There is more to a comprehensive estate plan than deciding who gets your assets when you pass on. You also want to plan for a disability, such as through the use of a power of attorney.
- Forgetting to name a guardian for children under the age of 18: You want to know that your children will receive the proper care should you pass on before they reach the age of 18. This is why naming a guardian in your estate plan is so important.
Maybe you've made these estate planning mistakes in the past, or maybe you need to protect against them in the future. Either way, a firm grasp of your estate plan is an absolute must.
When you know what's available to you and how to protect your legal rights, it's easier to feel confident in the plan you've created for you and your loved ones.