Although many Californians tend to put it off, estate planning is one of the most important things you need to do during your lifetime. This task is even more crucial as you get older. As most people are inexperienced with the process, they can easily make mistakes.
Common estate planning mistakes
Avoiding estate planning and not starting the process until late in life is perhaps the most consequential mistake. not having a plan in place can lead to a host of other problems, especially not having powers of attorney for financial and health care decisions. Not having these documents could put you in living probate if you become incapacitated. Not discussing your wishes with family and beneficiaries is another big mistake often resulting from not having a plan. Another crucial mistake is that some people think that they can craft an estate plan by themselves, especially because of the wealth of tools for will writing on the internet.
Other pitfalls are also common. Even if you have an estate plan, you may have done the following:
- Not adequately providing for minor children through trusts, especially those with special needs
- Neglecting to update your original plan
- Choosing the wrong trustee
- Failing to review your plan regularly and update it
Even small estates need proper planning
If you don’t have much accumulated wealth, you may mistakenly believe that you don’t need a detailed estate plan. No matter the size of your estate, a well-crafted plan will give you peace of mind.
Take your time during the planning process to evaluate different estate instruments like revocable and irrevocable trusts, transfer-on-death and other items that will give you peace of mind and also make the distribution of your estate easier for your executor. Remember, you can always change components as needed.