Creating a well-thought-out estate plan is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and to your loved ones. Unfortunately, however, it is easy to make mistakes when it comes to estate planning. A mistake can cost you, or your loved ones, a considerable amount of time and money. An Inglewood estate planning lawyer at Collins Law Firm discusses three estate planning mistakes you want to avoid making.
- Waiting to Plan. One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the need for estate planning is the idea that you need to reach a certain point in your life or you need to achieve a certain material success before the need for an estate plan really kicks in. While it is true that as your family and your estate grow, you will need to build on your basic estate plan to accommodate that growth, every adult should have at least a basic estate plan in place. A basic plan, usually consisting of a Last Will and Testament and one or two other estate planning documents, prevents you from leaving behind an intestate estate should something happen to you. It also allows you to decide who will oversee the probate of your estate and provides you with the only official opportunity you have to let a judge know who you would want to be the guardian for your minor children if one is ever needed. Don’t put off creating your estate plan under the mistaken belief that you don’t need one yet.
- Failing to Plan for the Possibility of Incapacity. When you think about the need for estate planning you likely think in terms of planning for your eventual death. While your estate plan certainly should do that, a comprehensive estate plan will also plan for the possibility of your own incapacity. Moreover, incapacity is not limited to old age. You stand a one in five chance of suffering a period of disability lasting five-month or more prior to reaching retirement age. If you do suffer a period of incapacity, who will make personal and healthcare decisions for you? Who will take over control of your assets and finances? Absent an incapacity plan, a judge may be the one answering those questions – and you may not like the answers. The way to avoid that outcome is to incorporate an incapacity planning component into your comprehensive estate plan.
- Forgetting to Review and Revise Your Estate Plan. Your estate plan is not something you should create and then forget about if you want a plan that actually works. Just as your life doesn’t remain static, neither should your estate plan. As you grow and change, so should your plan. During your working years, you should routinely review and revise your estate plan every three to five years. Once you retire you can stretch that to every five to eight years. Certain life events also call for a more immediate revision of your estate plan. Marriage or divorce, for example, should prompt an immediate update to your plan as should things such as retirement, a move to a new state, the birth of a child, or the death of a fiduciary. If you are uncertain whether a change in your life requires a revision to your estate plan, check with your estate planning attorney to be sure your plan remains up to date.
Contact an Inglewood Estate Planning Lawyer
For more information, please join us for a FREE webinar. If you have additional questions about estate planning, consult with an Inglewood estate planning lawyer. Contact the Collins Law Firm by calling (310) 677-9787 to register for one of our FREE estate planning workshops.