Whether you’re establishing a will, creating a trust, or determining your power of attorney, it is essential that these documents are completed correctly. This ensures that, in your absence, your money and assets are distributed the way you intend to the people you want. If you do not determine this ahead of time, the disbursement of your property may get tied up in court.
According to WealthCounsel, 71% of Americans would feel like a good spouse or parent if they had a well-thought-out estate plan. If you’d like to have peace of mind that your wishes will be executed the way you want, be sure to avoid these top five mistakes when planning your estate.
1. Coordinate Beneficiaries Properly
If you have more than one child, you should list all of them on all of the accounts instead of listing one and expecting that child to handle dispersing the money. It rarely works out the way you think it will. It is essential to be clear in your documents how your assets will be distributed, especially if you’ve designated one child to oversee everything. An estate attorney can help you make sure that you have everyone appropriately listed.
2. Improperly Funded Trusts
If you create trusts so those left behind do not have to work through probate, you must transfer the assets to said trusts. If you do not, your beneficiaries must open probate to transfer the assets. Again, an estate attorney can help you fund your trusts properly.
3. Deceased Beneficiaries
When you create a will and time passes, things change. For example, if you have listed individuals as your beneficiaries and they pass away, you need to update your will. You or your estate attorney should regularly review your will to accommodate any changes to your list of beneficiaries. It may also be worth establishing conditions to address any unforeseen changes that could occur should you not have time to update your will right away.
4. Selling Your House
Discuss all the pros and cons of selling off assets upon your death with your estate attorney. Sometimes, requesting that your house be sold can have repercussions you didn’t foresee, such as creditors claiming part of the proceeds.
5. Incorrect Titles
If you want your house to go to the co-owner of the house, you must ensure that their name is on the title. In addition, you both must hold the title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Similar rules apply to properties like cars, boats, and trailers.
These five tips will help you stay away from making mistakes when it comes to planning your estate. The best way to guarantee that your after-death plans will be executed the way you want is to work with an experienced estate attorney. For exceptional legal oversight of your estate, call us — we’re ready to help.