Estate planning is a particularly complicated area of law. Any mistakes that are made in a will or other document can end up creating significant errors in the administration of an estate. When these issues crop up, you will likely not be alive or aware that your estate planning documents contain errors and your wishes will not be carried out in full. For this reason, it is a wise idea to obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney who can make sure that your plans are properly created and executed.
Error 1: Incorrectly Naming Beneficiaries
Failure to name a beneficiary in estate planning documents or not reviewing estate plans and having an estate proceed to the wrong person can lead to substantial problems. If you fail to appoint a beneficiary, either your assets will pass to your estate or probate law will determine who receives them. With some types of estate planning accounts, failure to name a beneficiary can result in substantial tax complications.
Error 2: Failure to Plan for the Death of a Beneficiary
In addition to failing to name a beneficiary or naming the wrong one, some people fail to name an alternate beneficiary to receive an inheritance in case the first one dies before the administration of the estate. In most types of estate planning, it is a wise idea to both name a principal and an alternate in case an unexpected event occurs before the estate planning document is executed.
Error 3: Failure to Anticipate Complications With a Gift
Even if you have noble intentions for how a gift should be assigned, failure to anticipate the numerous complications that can arise can turn a simple but meaningful gesture into a fraught and complicated one. To make sure that your gifts are reasonable and likely to succeed, discuss your plans with an experienced estate planning lawyer.
Error 4: Not Taking Guardianship into Consideration
Never leave assets directly to a minor without first taking issues of guardianship into consideration. Nearly all minors are incapable of managing a large inheritance without adult guidance. Fortunately, there are estate planning tools that allow an inheritance to be held by someone else until the minor turns 18. There are also estate planning documents that allow a minor to receive an inheritance only on the condition that certain requirements are met.
Error 5: Failing to do Any Type of Estate Planning
Many people fail to perform any type of estate planning because they are uncomfortable with thinking about their death and do not want to consider what will happen when they are not around any longer. As a result, when these individuals die or become incapacitated, there are no estate planning documents to determine how things should be handled.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
If you have questions about the estate planning process, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. At Resnick Law, we have helped many people create and implement estate plans to achieve a variety of goals. Contact our law office today to schedule an initial free consultation.