Many think of an estate plan as having only a will or trust. You write it once and then file it away, forgetting about it. An estate plan is not a quick and easy document you jot down on paper and walk away from. But on the other hand, when you have the right help, a proper estate plan doesn’t have to be overwhelming, complicated and filled with mistakes. We have compiled for you 5 tips to help avoid estate planning mistakes.
What is Included in an Estate Plan?
An estate plan can include various documents and directives, depending on your particular situation. 3 of the most common items in an estate plan are:
- Will or trust
- Power of attorney
- Healthcare directive
This may be all you need, but there could be items necessary to ensure you have a complete estate plan. You may also want to consider establishing a trust.
5 Tips to Help Avoid Estate Planning Mistakes
Mistakes are a normal part of life. But working with an experienced estate planning attorney will help you avoid unnecessary mistakes. Here are 5 tips to help you avoid estate planning mistakes:
- Don’t try to plan your entire estate plan on your own – The internet makes it sound simple to design an estate plan by yourself. But you must remember that these are legal documents, and the courts can throw out a will or power of attorney with mistakes. Having an experienced attorney on your side will help ensure a strong estate plan and peace of mind.
- Don’t think you can build your estate plan once and then be done – Your life changes, and so should your estate plan. Perhaps you have moved to another state (tax implications), your best friend passed away (who was the named executor of your will) or you purchased a vacation home (add to your will or trust). Your life changes fast, and your estate plan should be reviewed periodically.
- Always name a backup – You will sit down with your executor and explain what you want for end-of-life treatment and how to distribute your assets after you’re gone. But what happens if your executor suddenly can’t carry out your wishes? You need someone else who understands all aspects of your estate.
- Remember that all documents must agree with each other – Your life insurance, retirement benefits, and banking distribution cannot conflict with your will or trust. These documents must all work together.
- Include a healthcare directive – This legal document informs your family and doctors of your medical care decisions. Including sudden hospitalization due to an accident or the onset of Alzheimer’s. For whatever the reason, the healthcare directive will give you a voice when you cannot make healthcare decisions for yourself.
Oak Brook Estate Planning Attorney
Call us for more information on setting up an estate plan specifically designed for you. Contact one of our lawyers today and schedule an appointment at 630-864-5835.
AREAS WE SERVE: DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.