Finding the time and motivation to create an estate plan is something that makes many people put it off. When it is time to sit down and get things together, it is important that you take care of everything necessary so that your wishes are followed and your beneficiaries and heirs get the portions of your estate that you want them to have. There are some mistakes that you should make sure you avoid.
Family heirlooms are often a source of contention between family members left behind. It is important that you specify who will get what by using separate writing, which is done outside of the will. It should also be referenced within the will. This means that you should list who gets your stamp collection, your grandmother's rocker, that stained glass butterfly artwork and anything else that your family members might fuss over.
You should also plan for what will happen if you are incapacitated. It is easy to forget that not all of your estate plan deals with what happens after you die. You should also include who will handle your affairs and make decisions for you if you can't do so on your own. Make sure that you have powers of attorney designations, health care directives and trusts set up if necessary to cover all the bases.
If you are up in age or are a widower or widow, make sure that your estate plan covers your children's inheritance. This is especially important if you end up getting remarried and still want your adult children to have an inheritance.
There are a lot of variables that come into play when you are creating an estate plan. Seeking the assistance of someone who can help you understand how to protect your estate is vital so you can rest easy knowing your wishes are properly and legally conveyed.
Source: Bradenton Herald, “Seven common estate planning traps to avoid,” Karin Grablin, June 09, 2015