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4 common estate planning mistakes (and how to avoid them)

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Now that you’re in your 30s or 40s, you’re at a point where you have a good number of assets, a family to protect and more on your plate. You have a good job, and you just want to make sure that your family is protected should anything go wrong.

Now is a good time to talk about estate planning if you haven’t already. Estate planning helps you prepare for the future, so you, and your family, know what to expect if you are incapacitated or pass away. Unfortunately, there are some simple mistakes that a lot of people make when working on their estate plans. Here are four that you should avoid.

  1. Not having an estate plan

The first thing you should avoid doing is skipping an estate plan completely. You need an estate plan to go over your wishes, to pass on assets, to assign guardianship and more.

  1. Not updating your estate plan

When major life changes happen, you need to update your estate plan. For example, you may have one child and a single trust for them now, but if you have another child, you may need to update the estate plan to include a second trust and further guardianship information.

  1. Using a DIY will website

One big mistake that many people make is using a DIY website for their will without consulting with an attorney. While a basic DIY will does give you some idea of what your will should include, everyone’s situation is different. You need to make sure the will is legally binding and that it is admissible in court.

  1. Not planning for incapacitation

Finally, don’t forget to plan for incapacitation. If you are suddenly unable to work or you become ill, how will you care for yourself? Who will make decisions about your care? Look into establishing a living will, your power of attorney documents and other protections for the long-term.

Avoiding these common estate planning mistakes will make sure your estate plan protects you and your family as you move forward in life. Remember, setting up a plan and updating it regularly is important as your life changes over time.