Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid in the New Year

As we come to the end of the year and are looking toward a new year, we recommend that our clients reevaluate their estate plans.

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Estate plans are incredibly important to protect future wishes, assets, and families.

Often, we see the same mistakes repeated over and over in estate planning.  Some of the most common estate planning mistakes are the following:

  1. Not having an estate plan. The biggest issue we see in estate planning is not having an estate plan at all. This can lead to family disputes, unfollowed wishes regarding your own healthcare or finances, and putting your assets at risk. Estate plans are not just for the wealthy. Estate plans are for everyone and should be a priority if you do not have one.
  2. Not dealing with assets appropriately. Sometimes, we have clients come to us with outdated estate plans or estate plans that don’t adequately protect their assets. We help our clients draft personal property memorandums to best distribute tangible items. We also help clients structure their documents to best protect their other financial and digital assets that they may have.
  3. Not hiring an attorney. If you have thought about using online software to create your will or trust, you might want to rethink that idea. Online wills and trusts can lead to disaster. They might not be legally binding, they may not follow the updated state laws, and they will not be tailored to best protect your needs. Online wills can lead to long probate disputes and family feuds. Hire an estate planning attorney to make sure that you have a well-drafted estate plan that protects your individual interests and assets.
  4. Not planning for incapacity. Many people think that estate plans are only for rich people when they die. This is not true. Estate plans are useful tools to help everyone in the event of incapacity. What happens if you get into a car wreck or are stranded in another country and need someone to help out with your finances at home? It is essential that you have the correct Power of Attorney documents in place to protect your healthcare and financial wishes. No matter the amount of assets you have, you want to protect your future wishes regarding your healthcare and finances.
  5. Not updating your estate plan. Estate plans need to be updated as situations and laws change. Sometimes, you want to change the beneficiaries of your estate plan or the people you have chosen to be your trustee or power of attorney. You may also experience changes to your financial situation which will impact your documents. It is essential to review your estate plan and reevaluate with your attorney.

Contact us today to create or update your tailored estate plan. We will help you to avoid the common estate planning mistakes and make sure that you, your family and your assets are best protected.

Happy New Year from Rickard & Associates!

Contact us today to help you get the right documents in place or to update your current estate plan. We will plan so that you don’t have to worry about your future.   

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