If you have a will – or are just starting to think about your estate plan – there are things you can do to save you and your loved ones time, money and stress. By avoiding these 3 common estate planning mistakes you can make settling your estate less expensive and stressful for your family and heirs.
1. Contingent Beneficiaries
When you create an estate plan, you can also name one or more contingent beneficiaries who will inherit your assets if something happens to the primary beneficiary. Contingent beneficiaries can only inherit assets when the primary beneficiary does not – they are next in line to inherit if the assets don’t go to the primary beneficiary. If you do not name a contingent beneficiary and the primary beneficiary cannot inherit your assets – for example, if they died before you – the probate courts will determine how your estate will be distributed.
2. Successor Fiduciaries
A fiduciary is the trustees of a trust or the personal representatives of an estate. A successor fiduciary is someone who assumes the role of trustee or personal representative when their predecessor discontinues. If there is not a named successor to the trustee, your estate will need to go to probate court and will require additional time, money and stress to be settled.
Probate is a complicated legal process to settle your estate after your death that can tie up your estate’s assets for many months and require your heirs to go to court. Your estate will become public record, and there will be additional fees and expenses before your assets are distributed. A comprehensive estate plan can use trusts and other legal strategies to avoid probate court – and the additional time and expenses.
Estate planning doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. By planning ahead and preparing an estate plan while you are in good health, you can have peace of mind – and save your loved ones time, money and stress after you are gone. An experienced legal professional will have many ideas on how you can plan today to make life easier for your loved ones in the future.
A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you ensure you are protected if you become ill and your assets are distributed how you want. For help setting up a will, trust and other estate planning assistance, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Estate and Probate Legal Group at 630-687-9100.