Estate planning is an important step for everyone, regardless of a person's income, size of his or her estate, or other financial factors. Having a solid estate plan in place can ensure that you have control over your health care in the future and can plan for the care of others. You do not have to be wealthy in order to benefit from having a thoughtful and up-to-date estate plan in place.
While estate planning is useful, committing certain mistakes during this process can have negative consequences in the future. As you draft a plan, it is beneficial to be thoughtful, cautious and intentional about avoiding missteps. It is also smart to review plans regularly and seek help as you make important decisions that could affect your future.
What types of errors could be hiding in your plan?
Various types of mistakes could derail an estate plan in the future. If there are problems with your plan, it could affect how or if your beneficiaries will receive property as you intended or if you will get the type of medical care you want in case of incapacitation. Issues with estate plans are serious, and there is significant benefit in reviewing yours to ensure the following common mistakes do not affect you down the road:
- Putting your child or your beneficiary on the deed to your home, which could result in hefty taxes
- Failing to update your estate plan after significant life changes, such as the death of a beneficiary, divorce or remarriage
- Not having plans in place for your care in case of a disability or incapacitation
- Failing to do things that will reduce your estate taxes and make things easier for your beneficiaries after your death
- Waiting too long to plan or to update your plan as needed
It is a worthwhile effort to ensure that your estate plan is updated and accurate. While you cannot predict the future, planning well can give you peace of mind and protection.
Where should you start?
If you do not have a will or you need to update an existing will, it may be beneficial to start by reaching out to an experienced California estate planning attorney. An evaluation of your case can help you understand what you may need to do to fix mistakes that may be hiding in your plan or to avoid issues in the future. You do not have to go through this process alone.