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Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Posted on in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning attorneysIn many ways, estate planning is similar to dieting and healthy living. We all know that we should eat better, exercise more, and spend fewer hours in front of computer and televisions screens. Compared to the total population, only a portion actually make a sustained, consistent effort at improving their lives. The same is largely true for estate planning. Most of us understand that it is important to have a formal plan in place for when we die. We know that it will be better for our families, and it could even benefit us during our lifetime. Yet, for some reason—or many reasons—more than half of American adults do not have a will or any other type of estate plan in place.

The similarities between estate planning and healthier living do not stop there. Have you ever been at the gym when someone pointed out that you were doing a particular exercise wrong? It can be frustrating, since doing something—even if your technique is not perfect—is better than doing nothing. Estate planning is no different in that regard, but there are several common mistakes that many people make as they go through the process, including:

  • Thinking an estate is too simple or small to need a plan. Are you over the age of 18? Do you have a car and a checking account? All adults should have an estate plan in place, even if the plan is very basic. Sure, you do not need a complex plan loaded with contingencies and endowments, but you should know what will happen to your assets upon your death. If you have children, planning for their future can also be part of your estate planning process;
  • Trusting that things will work themselves out. Life is full of surprises, both good and bad. Marriages, divorce, births, deaths, illnesses, addictions, new jobs, and financial windfalls can all create uncertain circumstances that should be accounted for in your estate plan. A well-developed estate plan can be created to include possible “what-if” scenarios, ensuring that your assets can be fully protected both now and in the future;
  • Choosing the wrong people to manage your estate. Your estate plan affords you the ability to choose an executor, as well as trustees or Powers of Attorney depending on your needs. Too often, people name someone just to get it done, with little thought given to the actual responsibilities in question. The results of doing so can be devastating not only to your estate but to your family’s stability as well; and
  • Forgetting the pets. You would not create an estate plan that failed to account for your young children, but many plans do not address family pets. Instruments such as pet trusts are available and relatively easy to set up so that your furry friends can be well provided for in the years following your death.

Contact a Skilled Lawyer

If you do not have an estate plan in place, it may be difficult to even know where to begin, but an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney can provide the guidance you need. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.

 

Sources:

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13215666/1/5-biggest-estate-planning-mistakes-you-can-make.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2014/09/15/7-common-estate-planning-blunders-not-to-make/

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