No one likes to think about death, but a lack of proper estate planning can cause confusion and turmoil for your family once you’re gone. Too many people fail to follow through on creating a plan, while others don’t update their plans after significant changes occur.
Some people in Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia believe estate planning is for older people and something to do later, while others may think they don’t have enough assets to worry about creating a will, trust or other option to pass along their money and property.
Avoid these three common mistakes
Once you decide to create a comprehensive estate plan, it is important to avoid these three errors that many people make:
Incomplete information: Leaving your executor and family members a detailed list of all your assets is vital to making sure others follow your wishes, including:
- Bank accounts
- Brokerage accounts such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs
- Retirement accounts
- Insurance policies
- Mortgage documents
Missing or incorrect beneficiary designations: Make sure you name beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries for retirement accounts, annuities and insurance policies and that your will is updated to reflect the most current information. Estates with missing or incorrect beneficiary information will end up in costly probate proceedings.
Not updating your plan: Review your plan annually and after major life changes, such as a divorce, changing jobs or having a child. Failing to do so will make it more likely that your wishes may not be carried out. Estate plans should also be updated to take advantage of current tax laws.
Coming up with a detailed and updated estate plan
Estate planning can be a difficult topic when considering the end of your own life, or when asking your parents if they have a plan in place. However, having a plan and making sure it’s done correctly can provide peace of mind while you are still around to enjoy the people you love. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney in Pennsylvania can bring welcome relief and provide for your family’s future security.