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What are Big Mistakes to Avoid in Estate Planning?

Estate Planning For Life's Stages

Establishing an estate plan is extremely important. As life changes, it is necessary to update your plan to fit new circumstances.

Life happens, and it’s usually out of our control. Whether it’s a change in domicile, the death of a family member, new grandchildren, or a significant difference in assets, it is essential to make sure you adjust your estate plan accordingly. Failing to do so could prevent your wishes from being executed as you want them to after you’re gone.

Making mistakes when adjusting or creating your estate plan is easy, but making changes now ensures asset protection. Here are the biggest mistakes in estate planning that you want to avoid.

4 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Estate Planning

  1. Updating a will or trust but forgetting to update ancillary documents. When updating an estate plan, people tend to hone in on updating their wills and trusts without having their powers of attorney, health care directives, or guardians reviewed. This prevents them from completing a full update to their estate planning. While these ancillary documents are good forever, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be reviewed and updated like any other legal document.
  2. Using flawed reasoning when selecting agents to act on your behalf. Some people choose their executors, trustees, and other agents by trying to appoint all their children together or appoint agents by age or profession instead of who is best suited to serve.
  3. Forgetting to update an estate plan when moving to another state. Estate planning documents drafted out-of-state, provided they were prepared with the legal requirements of that state, will be effective in all states. However, practically speaking, having out-of-state documents can complicate trust or estate administration or the ability to exercise powers of attorney or health care directives.
  4. Forgetting to create an asset cheat sheet or keep that list updated. It’s common for a person to have stocks, life insurance, annuities, or other investments at many different institutions. When you update your estate plan, create a list of your accounts and assets and update that list as things change. Be sure to include the name and location of the account and the last four digits of the account number.

Taking Steps of Action for Your Estate Plan

Taking the proper steps to ensure your affairs are in order can be a long a meticulous process. Consulting with a local lawyer can help reduce time and money exhausted. Our estate planning lawyers have spent many years acting on our client’s behalf and learning some small steps that can benefit you and solidify your legacy. Here are a few steps to put you on the right path.

  1. Creating a revocable living trust ensures your grantor or trustee knows precisely your assets and how you would like them handled.
  2. Selecting the best person also includes someone who lives nearby and has the time to address your needs.
  3. Continue to update your estate plan each time you move to a new state to ensure it functions within the parameters of that state.
  4. Create a cheat sheet that you habitually update when assets change.

If you’re looking for someone to walk alongside you through the estate planning process, Ozarks Legacy Law can be your partner. We have been serving the Southwest Missouri area for many years and have over 50 years of combined estate planning experience. Become a client today, or book a call to learn more! Take these steps and more to establish the best estate plans for you.