4 Major Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

estate planning forms

Avoid estate planning mistakes like failing to update your power of attorney

Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management of a person’s estate after their death. This can be an intimidating and overwhelming process for anybody. That means it is easy to make a mistake that will be detrimental in the future. Colony Title Associates understands the many estate planning mistakes to avoid and has provided this list to help you succeed in your estate planning. Our attorneys in the law offices of Tillman, Shehan & Letzkus, LLC, can advise you on estates and trusts if you have further questions. 

Not Understanding the Estate Plan

Many people may become passive when meeting with an estate planner, believing that the planner knows best and will take care of everything on their own. However, many estate planning attorneys have reported that many plans are not correctly implemented because clients do not understand the plans or what they need to do after leaving the office. 

If you do not understand the basics of the estate plan, what you need to do to implement the plan, and how it works for you and your beneficiaries, let your estate planner know.

Tips for Understanding the Plan

  • You can insist the estate planner spend more time walking you through the plan and documents
  • Take notes at each stage of the estate planning process to help your recall later
  • Additionally, take notes about your major decisions and why you made them

Failure to Update Beneficiary Designations

What your will says does not affect who inherits certain assets. Assets like retirement accounts, annuities, and life insurance have separate beneficiary designation forms that determine who inherits. This estate planning mistake can mean that unintended beneficiaries could be named, or new family members may be excluded. Review your designations every couple of years or after every significant life change in your family. 

Not Updating Powers of Attorney

Every estate plan requires powers of attorney. You will need at least two for financial and medical care, respectively. Many people do not have either of these documents or haven’t kept them up to date, but you will likely need them before you need a will and the rest of your estate plan. 

Neglecting to Update the Plan

Failure to update the estate plan after any of these life events is a common estate planning mistakes: 

  • Any birth, death, divorce, or marriage in your family
  • Changes in your net worth, job status, the composition of your estate, residence, and other factors
  • A change in your goals or the law

Any of those events indicate that a meeting with your estate planner is necessary.

A Title Company You Can Trust: Colony Title

At Colony Title, we will help you through the process of getting your property’s title and help you avoid the pitfalls of hidden costs while you buy your home. We are also well trained in identifying any and all errors in public records and helping you resolve them. We specialize in real estate title insurance in both Maryland and Washington, D.C., and we will perform an expert title search, check through all past documentation, and examine records for any fraud or forgery. For more information on how we can get you into the home of your dreams, contact us online or give us a call at (410) 884-1160. To get more updates on housing markets and how to get into your home, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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