Older woman filling out estate planning document

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Estate Planning

It would be difficult to understate the importance of having an estate plan in place. A solid, comprehensive estate plan can not only protect a future you want for yourself, but also for that of your loved ones. Having any old estate plan in place, however, will not do. You need an estate plan that is properly executed with your interests, goals, and circumstances in mind. To help you get started on your journey to establishing an estate plan that maximizes the benefits and protections available, here are some common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Estate Planning

One of the most common mistakes that is made when estate planning is failing to observe the state-mandated formalities needed in order for your estate planning documents to be valid and withstand legal scrutiny. Each state will require certain formalities in order for documents such as your will, living will, power of attorney, and more to be held as legally valid. In fact, failing to account for state-specific parameters and requirements of estate planning tools is one of the reasons using online forms can be so dangerous. These forms that claim to be “one size fits all” for your estate planning needs often fail to observe the nuances of different state laws governing estate planning and, thus, risk being rendered invalid or ineffective.

Another common mistake that is made when estate planning is failing to take care in who to appoint to roles of responsibility within the estate plan. When estate planning, you will need to name a personal representative of your estate. You may also need to name a health care surrogate and an agent under a power of attorney. These are all roles that carry some serious responsibilities. A personal representative will be tasked with administering your estate after you pass. A health care surrogate will be tasked, should the need arise, with making critical health care decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated. An agent under a power of attorney will likely have responsibilities involving conducting key legal arrangements and financial transactions on your behalf. Take the time to consider who will best serve in such roles as the proper execution of these roles and their responsibilities can be critical for a number of reasons.

Speaking of estate planning tools such as health care surrogates and powers of attorney, another common estate planning mistake is failing to engage in incapacity planning. Most people only think of a will or how to distribute property when thinking about estate planning. Comprehensive estate planning, however, is about so much more. It is a time to put legal protections in place that guard your best interests under some of the most devastating things life can throw your way. Consider what would happen if you were ever to become incapacitated. This can happen due to an accident, sudden illness, or even the gradual progression of a medical condition. Who would make health care decisions on your behalf? Who would manage your financial affairs? The reality is that by including incapacity planning tools in your estate plan, you can have such things taken care of and avoid a great many headaches and strains on your loved ones.

Estate Planning Attorney

If you do not have a strong, comprehensive estate plan in place, there is no time like the present to get one. At BoyesLegal, APC, we develop estate plans to meet your unique needs and goals. Contact us today.