5 common estate planning mistakes to avoid

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2019 | Estate Planning |

Studies show six out of every 10 American adults are without an estate plan. This can be a costly mistake for you and your family if you pass away unexpectedly or suddenly become too ill or injured to make decisions for yourself.

However, even if you are proactive and put an estate plan in place while you are still in good health, there are several mistakes professional advisers routinely see that can create massive and expensive headaches for family members.

Guard against these frequent estate planning errors

Whether you have already created a will or are looking to put a plan in place here in Georgia, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you keep from making these avoidable mistakes:

  • Failing to name or update beneficiaries: Not naming contingency beneficiaries on retirement accounts or insurance policies is the most common mistake, and not updating beneficiaries, such as removing an ex-spouse, can have devastating results on a family.
  • Not naming a guardian for minors: Leaving money or property to your children but not naming someone to take care of them if you and the other parent die can have disastrous effects. This may leave their care as well as the management of those assets up to a court.
  • Not planning for the death of a beneficiary: If one of your two beneficiaries die, who do your assets go to when you pass away? Does the lone remaining beneficiary get everything? Or, does the family of the deceased heir receive his or her share? It all depends upon the wording.
  • Ownership inequities: When most of a couple’s assets are in one spouse’s name, that property may be subject to increased taxes to the estate, leaving heirs with less. Shifting and balancing assets and investments between spouses can reduce tax liability.
  • Not being prepared for the unexpected: Wills and other estate planning documents need to be constantly reviewed and changed in the event of a multitude of life-altering events, including the sudden decline in a spouse’s health, divorce, births, addictions and financial difficulties among heirs.

Seek knowledgeable advice for your estate planning needs

No one wants to think about their own mortality. However, failing to put an estate plan in place can leave your family not only experiencing grief over your loss, but also create a chaotic situation over the distribution of your assets. Working with an estate planning attorney here in Georgia can help you ensure your heirs receive their fair share according to your wishes.