Making an estate plan is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones here in North Carolina. Despite your good intentions, mistakes can make the life of your loved ones harder than expected, even as they deal with the normal grief of losing a family member or loved one. Here are some common estate planning missteps that are easy to avoid.
Many people think they will create an estate plan later on in life, but the truth is that no one can predict when your death or incapacity will occur. It’s vital to create an estate plan as soon as possible to ensure your wishes are carried out before and after your passing.
Not updating your estate plan
One of the most common estate planning mistakes (and may lead to litigation) is the failure to keep it updated. Dated arrangements can mean that the wrong parties receive the assets, and the wrong health care proxy can do what your close relatives may think isn’t something you want when incapacitated. Whether acquiring new assets, gifting a friend some assets, remarrying, or having more children or grandchildren, you should also revisit your estate plan and change it accordingly.
Signs of coercion or undue influence
When drafting your will or trust, make sure you do it without excessive influence or intimidation from any party. If one of your beneficiaries can spot undue influence and finds a way to prove it in court, a judge can invalidate your estate plans. For example, if you suddenly change the terms of your will or trust documents without explanation, someone can use that as grounds for contestation.
Outside guidance is often helpful
Every estate plan is unique. Nevertheless, you can avoid mistakes by determining what you want to accomplish with your estate plan. Then, get help on the best way to reach those goals. Financial planners, insurance specialists and tax experts are helpful, as is an attorney who can oversee the process and help reduce the likelihood of legal issues and disagreements among your beneficiaries.