Estate planning attorneys often witness people making mistakes when they try to create their own estate plans or wills. This is a problem that can easily be avoided with professional legal advice in the first place.
5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes
1. Naming a Minor as a Beneficiary. Many people make the mistake of naming minors as beneficiaries in their estate planning. This can cause problems because minors are not legally allowed to own property. If you name a minor as a beneficiary, the court will appoint someone to manage the property for the child until they reach the age of 18.
2. Drafting an Estate Plan Without an Attorney. Many people believe that drafting an estate plan is a simple task that can be completed without the assistance of an attorney. However, this is one of the most common and costly mistakes that individuals can make. Without the guidance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, individuals may unwittingly create documents that are invalid or fail to address all of their assets. As a result, their loved ones may face significant challenges later on.
3. Adding a Joint Owner to a Bank Account. Adding a joint owner to a bank account can be a costly estate planning mistake. If the account is ever frozen or involves litigation, the joint owner may have legal claims against the funds. Additionally, the joint owner may be able to take those funds without the primary holder's knowledge or consent.
4. Failing to Fund a Trust. The process of funding a trust means that you are changing the ownership, so an asset will now be owned by your trust. If a trust is not properly funded, the assets will need to go through the probate process. If the trust is properly funded, those assets will not need to go through probate.
5. Choosing the Wrong Co-Fiduciary. Think carefully about who you trust to make decisions on your behalf, such as the Trustee of your Trust or your Power of Attorney. This person will have a great deal of responsibility, so it's important to choose someone you know you can count on. Take your time and consider all your options before making a decision. Choosing the right person is an important part of protecting your assets and ensuring your wishes are carried out.
Contact a Heritage Law Office Attorney
Everyone should have an estate plan in place. An attorney here at Heritage Law Office can help you create your estate plan. We offer a free consultation to discuss your needs and what our office can do for you. Having an estate plan in place offers many benefits, including peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are taken care of after you're gone. If you would like more information or want to schedule a free consultation, please give us a call at 414-253-8500 today!