Protecting your loved ones by creating an estate plan is very important — it gives those closest to you clear instructions on how to carry out your final wishes. Unfortunately, even a small estate planning mistake can cause months or years of probate-related confusion. To avoid difficult and expensive problems, not only should you consult with any attorney to create or edit your estate plan, but you also should discuss your wishes with those closest to you. Being aware of these three common estate planning errors can help you better protect your beneficiaries and secure the legacy you have left to your heirs.
The records you leave behind are a vital part of administering your estate. Without proper documentation, it becomes difficult for your executor and heirs to locate property, recover assets, and verify the estate’s outstanding debts. In some well-known cases, the family was not even able to locate the will that was created, causing numerous problems for everyone involved. When working on your estate plan, be sure to include detailed information and records that explain the location of your bank accounts, life insurance policies, tax information, etc. It also is vital that your family knows where your will and important documents are stored.
Choosing the Wrong Executor
An executor is someone who should be trustworthy and reliable — after all, your executor is responsible for distributing your assets and adhering to your final wishes as outlined in your estate plan. However, no matter how thorough you feel your estate plan is, being an executer is still hard work and extremely time consuming. You must choose an executor who has the ability to dedicate him or herself to the long process of managing your affairs. Your executor will need to work alongside your attorney; remain in contact with your beneficiaries; care for your assets; file your final tax return; and more. If you choose someone who does not have time to communicate with your beneficiaries; has a conflict of interest; or otherwise cannot perform the duties, then the probate process could turn into a disaster for your heirs.
Establishing a Trust Incorrectly
Establishing a trust is one way to pass assets on to your heirs without incurring large tax penalties or jeopardizing any government benefits that your heirs receive. However, if a trust is established incorrectly, then it could cause the same financial harm that it was intended to avoid. Even if the trust itself seems to be established with no problems, other issues such as appointing the wrong trustee; not designating your beneficiaries correctly; and not updating the trust on a regular basis, can cause problems for those you were planning to help.
Contacting Zwick Law to Review Your Estate Plan
Regardless of the size of your estate, contacting an estate planning and estate administration attorney is highly recommended. At Zwick Law, we are able to make suggestions based on your unique situation, to help you create the best estate plan for your circumstances. Our team is dedicated to providing clients with the assistance that they need. We understand that estate planning is a sensitive topic for most families — but it is necessary to protect your family and future. Contact us at one of our conveniently located offices in DuBois and Brookville, Pennsylvania, to schedule a legal consultation. At Zwick Law, we’re always here for you.
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