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Planning Your Estate - Mistakes To Avoid

Don’t Make These Mistakes When Planning Your Estate

Estate Planning Mistake 1 ❌ Ignoring Changes in Life Circumstances
Life changes are inevitable, and our estate plans must evolve alongside them. It’s essential to recognize that circumstances fluctuate, and failing to adjust our estate plans accordingly can lead to complications down the road.

What to do instead: Regularly revisit your estate plan, ideally on an annual basis. Major life events such as marriage, divorce, births, deaths, and financial windfalls should serve as cues for updating your plan as well to ensure it accurately reflects your current circumstances and wishes. Consistent updates safeguard the effectiveness and relevance of your estate plan over time. Therefore, we strongly recommend a yearly review and update.

Estate Planning Mistake 2 ❌ Neglecting to Consider Taxes
Not accounting for estate taxes or income taxes on inherited assets can significantly reduce the value of your estate.

What to do instead: Consult with tax professionals, such as Bullard Law, to understand and account for estate taxes or income taxes on inherited assets. Incorporate tax considerations into your estate planning strategy to preserve the value of your estate.

Estate Planning Mistake 3 ❌ Failing to Address Digital Assets
In the digital age, overlooking digital assets like online accounts, cryptocurrencies, and intellectual property can lead to complications in estate distribution.

What to do instead: Create an inventory of all your digital assets and include specific instructions for their management and distribution in your estate plan. Consider seeking guidance from legal and financial professionals like Bullard Law who specialize in digital estate planning to ensure that no asset is left unaccounted for.

Estate Planning Mistake 4 ❌ Choosing the Wrong Executor or Trustee
Selecting an unreliable or unqualified executor or trustee can result in mismanagement of assets or conflicts among beneficiaries.

What to do instead: Carefully vet potential executors or trustees, considering factors such as reliability, integrity, financial acumen, and willingness to carry out your wishes. Seek professional advice if necessary to ensure that the individuals appointed are capable of fulfilling their roles effectively and responsibly.

Estate Planning Mistake 5 ❌ Not Completing Beneficiary Designations
Failing to designate beneficiaries on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets can lead to delays and unnecessary expenses in estate administration.

What to do instead: Regularly review and update beneficiary designations on all applicable accounts and assets to ensure they align with your current wishes and circumstances. Promptly designate beneficiaries upon opening new accounts or acquiring new assets to streamline the estate administration process and minimize potential complications for your loved ones.

Estate Planning Mistake 6 ❌ Forgetting to Plan for Incapacity
Not having documents like a durable power of attorney or healthcare directive in place can leave decisions about your care and finances in the hands of the court.

What to do instead: Proactively create durable power of attorney and healthcare directive documents to designate trusted individuals to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacity. By establishing these documents, you maintain control over your care and finances while providing clarity and guidance for your loved ones during challenging times.

Estate Planning Mistake 7 ❌ Ignoring Family Dynamics
Disregarding family relationships and dynamics can lead to disputes and legal battles over inheritance, especially in blended families or situations with estranged relatives.

What to do instead: Take proactive steps to understand and address family dynamics when crafting your estate plan. Engage in open communication with family members about your intentions and seek professional guidance to navigate sensitive issues effectively. By considering family dynamics, you can help mitigate potential conflicts and ensure that your estate plan reflects your values and priorities.

Estate Planning Mistake 8 ❌ Not making sure you name what’s yours
Improperly titling assets or holding them in joint ownership without considering the implications can affect how they are distributed and taxed upon your death.

What to do instead: Carefully review the titling and ownership arrangements of your assets to ensure they align with your estate planning goals and intentions. Consult with legal and financial advisors to understand the implications of various ownership structures and make informed decisions to optimize distribution and minimize tax liabilities for your beneficiaries. Taking proactive steps to properly title your assets can help streamline the estate administration process and ensure your wishes are carried out effectively.

Estate Planning Mistake 9 ❌ Thinking “I will do it later”
Delaying estate planning can lead to grave complications, especially if you think you have time, and the unexpected happens such as illness or death.

What to do instead: Start your estate planning process early and make it a priority to establish a comprehensive plan as soon as possible. Regularly review and update your plan to accommodate changes in your life circumstances and priorities. By taking proactive steps to address your estate planning needs, you can provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones, ensuring that your wishes are clearly documented and your assets are protected.

Estate Planning Mistake 10 ❌ NOT DOING AN ESTATE PLAN AT ALL
Failing to create an estate plan means your assets will be distributed according to state laws, which might not align with your wishes.

What to do instead: Get in touch with Bullard Law. Take proactive measures to create an estate plan that reflects your intentions and priorities. Work with legal and financial professionals to draft comprehensive documents that outline how you want your assets distributed and address important matters such as healthcare directives and guardianship arrangements. By creating an estate plan, you retain control over the distribution of your assets and ensure that your wishes are honored, providing clarity and peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.

At Bullard Law, we’re here to help you with all the tricky stuff – wills, trusts, and all the legal things that make sure your wishes are followed.

We believe in making this as easy and stress-free as possible.

Want to get started? Get in touch with Bullard Law today and we’ll start this important journey together >>>