Estate planning can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to. It can be difficult to know where to start, which may explain why so many put it off.
However, even those who don't procrastinate with their estate planning can still make some pretty serious mistakes. It's important to avoid these gaffes when writing your estate plan:
Ignoring new family additions
Life changes and families can change with it. New grandchildren or a new someone-in-law might mean it's time to update your estate plan. It's important that you keep the people in your plan updated, just as they are in life. Don't let someone fall by the wayside.
Not addressing asset transactions
If you sell a car, you better take it out of your will. Same with any other large transactions. If you get a new cabin, make sure you know where it's going. Leaving large assets out of an estate plan may seem like a very avoidable mistake, but it can be easy to forget about.
Picking one person for powers of attorney
While you may have picked a great person to serve as an executor to your estate when first writing your plan, is that still the case today? Relationships change, and it's important your estate plan reflects those changes.
It's important to keep powers of attorney assigned to the person best suited to the role.
Creating a plan you're unsure of
A good estate plan should reflect your exact intentions. It's important to make sure you are familiar with what you have laid out and why. If you aren't positive about what the plan does (and doesn't do), review it with a professional. It's your plan, after all.
Don't sign something that you aren't comfortable with. Make sure your plan reflects you.
Being proactive helps avoid mistakes
Estate plans don't have to be complex, but they should be accurate. Don't let your plan go years without an update. Life changes and your plan should too. It's a good idea to review your plan every couple of years to make sure it's still the best fit.
If you have estate planning questions, a knowledgeable attorney can be a valuable resource.