Estate planning can be as simple or as complicated as an individual testator needs it to be. When it comes to estate planning documentation that is property-focused, for example, some people have only a few assets worth bequeathing to others and only a few relationships that merit advance planning for the financial stability of the people that depend on them. Others need a number of complicated documents in place to achieve their estate planning goals.
Much of the process reflects someone’s circumstances in life and their personal priorities. However, it is relatively common for people to make the mistake of oversimplifying their estate plans. They fail to address issues that could cause major challenges in the future. These are some of the most common oversights that individuals make when estate planning.
1. Overlooking financial obligations
Some people fail to think about the taxes their estate or their family members will have to pay when they die. Others fail to consider the impact of the debts that they owe.
Those taxes and debts may take priority over the inheritance rights of beneficiaries, which means that if people don’t plan to minimize them or protect certain assets, they may not have much to pass to the people that they love when they die.
2. Ignoring family conflict
If someone has two children who have never gotten along or a youngest child with a serious substance abuse issue, those family challenges should influence their estate planning choices.
From the creation of a special trust to prevent the use of estate resources to feed someone’s addiction to the inclusion of a no-contest clause, there are many ways that someone can tweak their estate plan to address family conflicts. Proactive planning can reduce the risk of estate challenges or the misuse of an inheritance.
3. Thinking only about death
The best estate plans don’t just have testamentary documents that distribute assets and provide resources for dependent family members. A solid estate plan should also include living documents, like powers of attorney, that can protect someone in the event of a medical emergency.
Those who create a more thorough and holistic estate plan may achieve a more well-founded peace of mind throughout their lives and more protection in uncertain times. Addressing issues that are often overlooked during estate planning with the assistance of an experienced legal professional can help people to more thoroughly protect themselves.