Avoiding Common Estate Planning Missteps

Estate Planning Lawyer Phoenix, AZ

Creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your assets. Every estate plan is unique to the person(s) creating it, but many coming missteps occur each time. Below, you’ll find some of the most important estate planning missteps to avoid.

Not Even Having an Estate Plan

As obvious as it sounds, this is the most common mistake people make. As uncomfortable as it might be to think about your death, creating an estate plan helps your family handle your personal and financial affairs when the time comes.

Not Understanding the Estate Plan

Once you’ve created an estate plan, it is not enough to just have it. You’ll need to actually understand how it works. Don’t rely on your lawyer, spouse, or children to understand it for you. Make sure you know what your estate plan does and how you should manage it while you’re still alive.

Not Updating Your Estate Plan

The general recommendation is to update your estate plan every 3-5 years or at any major life event. As you age, your life circumstances are likely to change. You might get married or divorced. You might have children. Your children may turn 18. You may experience the death of a loved one. You may fall ill or get injured. You may have a significant career change, purchase a home, file for bankruptcy, etc. As your life circumstances change, so will your wishes and desire for what will happen to you and your estate.

Choosing the Wrong Executor

The executor is the person you will name to administer your estate after your death. You’ll want someone you can trust to follow out your wishes and obey the laws of your state. In general make sure the person is responsible, stable, trustworthy, and ideally lives in the same state as you.

Outdated Beneficiary Designations

Many common estate planning mistakes are made when it comes to updating beneficiary information. Make sure to not only name beneficiaries to your assets, but keep them updated regularly. Just like updating the estate plan in general, life changes may mean beneficiary changes.

Not Hiring an Attorney

If you’ve decided a trust is the right estate planning option for you, it is highly recommended you hire a lawyer. Cheap “do-it-yourself” templates and online methods of creating a living trust do exist, but hiring a professional is the best way to ensure that a complex legal document does exactly what you want it to do.

If you are interested in creating an estate plan, call Kamper & Estrada, PLLC. Our experienced estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts can answer any question you may have during a free initial consultation.


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