If you have already decided to make your estate plan, you may be in line to avoid one of the most common and potentially tragic estate planning mistakes. That is to fail to plan your estate. Truthfully, only a small percentage of those who live in Texas and beyond take the time to plan their estates. This often leads to confusion, disputes and misunderstandings among family and loved ones who may have different ideas about what your intentions might have been.
Nevertheless, even if you take the steps to draft a will or prepare other documents, there is still the chance that you will commit certain errors that can create the same kind of discord among those you leave behind. Being aware of the common estate planning mistakes may help you to avoid them as you take this noble step for yourself and the good of your family.
How valuable is an estate plan?
A comprehensive estate plan is a valuable tool that can go beyond simply listing who will inherit your belongings. Your estate plan can protect your children in case you die while they are still young. It can provide guidance for your family if you should become unable to express your wishes for medical care. Your estate plan can also designate trusted individuals to manage your finances if illness, injury, travel or other circumstances prevent you from doing so.
In fact, failing to utilize their estate plan for these and other purposes is another key mistake many make. Powers of attorney, medical directives, guardianships and other documents may provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind during the most difficult times you may face. Additionally, your circumstances may benefit from a trust in addition to your will. A trust can provide additional protection to your assets and hasten your loved ones’ ability to access them when the time comes.
The time is now
As you can see from the many elements of a complete estate plan, having one in place is not just for someone who is nearing the end of life. An estate plan can benefit most adults, young or old, married or single, whether they have many assets or a few, many heirs or none. The measure of protection an estate plan provides can be universal.
Finally, once you have taken the bold and admirable step to prepare your estate plan, don’t make the mistake of letting it sit untouched for years. A periodic review of your plan, especially after a major life event, will keep your plan relevant and cohesive, which may be part of your lasting legacy to your loved ones.