The last thing most people want to think about is their death. Making plans for when we are no longer here, with our loved ones, can be a depressing topic. However, making sure you have solid estate plans in place is critical to ensuring that your family is taken care of and your last wishes are met. Instead of being depressing, knowing you have made arrangements for when you are no longer here can actually give you peace of mind.
The following are some of the most common estate planning mistakes that each estate planning lawyer from Klenk Law has seen that often result in major problems for families.
No Estate Plan
Unfortunately, more than half of the adults in this country do not have a will or any other estate planning tool in place. This means there is nothing in place that will protect their family or their finances when they die. Not only does not having an estate plan in place have a negative impact on what happens when a person dies, it can also have a negative impact when they are still alive if they should become incapacitated. Part of a solid estate plan is having legal documentation in place that addresses how financial and medical decisions should be handled in the event you become unable to make those decisions yourself.
Only Having a Will
Although having a last will and testament is critical, it should not be the only tool you have in place. Your Allentown, PA estate planning lawyer will go over all of the helpful options you may have, including setting up trusts, advanced medical directives, and power of attorney documents. These documents give you the final say on how your finances and health decisions should be made.
Picking the Wrong Trustee and/or Executor
When you set up your estate planning documents, you will need to choose people who will oversee your wishes. You will need to choose an executor for your will. This is the person who will make sure that the assets are distributed per your wishes and that debts are paid. This is done under the supervision of the probate court. You will also need to choose a trustee if you choose to set up a trust, as well as a healthcare power of attorney, and a financial power of attorney.
It is imperative that you choose individuals who will not only be qualified to handle these positions but will also adhere to whatever your wishes in these documents are. Although many people choose family members for these positions, this can sometimes cause issues within the family, especially if there are some family members who you have decided not to leave anything to. It is often better to choose a neutral party to oversee these duties.
Not Updating Your Estate Plans
Another mistake many people make is that the set up an estate plan but they never go back to update or change things when life events happen that demand these changes. Events such as marriages, divorce, births, and deaths often mean that beneficiaries need to be added or changed. An estate planning lawyer Allentown, PA clients respect can help you with those changes.