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Mistakes that can be made when estate planning

Estate planning is important for everyone in the Kent area. Making a plan for what happens after you die can make sure assets go to the right people and your wishes are honored. But, there are some estate planning mistakes that you should avoid.

The main estate planning mistake that should be avoided is not having an estate plan at all. If a person does not create a plan for their estate after they die, then state law will determine the distribution of assets. This can have unintended consequences as to whom receives the assets and it may not be the estate holder's plan. Another mistake that can be made is not regularly reviewing existing estate planning documents. Beneficiaries may have changed, estate tax laws can be different or life circumstances can change. Any of these can affect an existing estate plan.

In some situations when a person only has a will, a trust may be a better option. A trust can be a better way in designating assets to people and controlling when income can be received by an heir. In regard to trusts, failing to fund a revocable trust is another common mistake. Trusts do not exist unless they have assets in them. Having pour over provisions can also transfer assets that weren't titled when a person was alive into the trust. A master document listing all digital assets, including social media, online accounts and passwords should also be created. And family members should know where they can find all important estate planning documents when the time comes.

A legal professional who is skilled in estate planning can help a person review their current estate planning needs and make sure their needs are met. Every family is different and an attorney understands estate planning law and knows what a family should do in order to make sure their assets are protected upon their death.

Source: wmur.com, "Money matters: Estate planning mistakes", Marc Hebert, Dec. 28, 2017

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