People who are looking to plan their estates, often have a lot of questions about what they should do. However, answering those questions can be like putting the cart before the horse.
Most estate planning mistakes can be avoided, if people would ask what they should not do instead. A large percentage of messy estate administration cases in probate courts would go away, if people would do that.
Market Watch recently discussed some of the things not to do in "7 common estate planning disasters and how to avoid them," including:
- Do not pass away without a will. It should be obvious. If you have no estate plan at all, you have made an estate planning mistake. However, this is a common mistake because people think they will live longer than they do and will have time to make plans later.
- Do not forget to plan for incapacity. A good estate plan will include documents planning for a time when you can no longer take care of things by yourself.
- Do not think you can get a good estate plan by purchasing a form and filling it out. Mistakes made when people do this are costly and time-consuming to fix.
- Do not make beneficiary designations on your financial accounts, without considering how those designations fit into your other estate plans.
- Do not forget to review your estate plan from time to time to make sure it is still appropriate for your family.
- Do not neglect to get a new estate plan, if you get remarried. This is especially important, if you have children from a previous relationship.
- Do not keep any secrets from your estate planning attorney. Your attorney cannot make proper plans, if all relevant information is not disclosed. It can lead to problems in administering your estate.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: Market Watch (April 26, 2018) "7 common estate planning disasters and how to avoid them."