Naperville Estate Planning Attorney Talks About Common Mistakes

mistakes, Naperville estate planning lawyerWe all make mistakes from time to time. Some of us put our trust in the wrong people while other overestimate our own abilities to handle certain responsibilities. Most of the time, it is possible to overcome our errors and to put things back on track, but that, unfortunately, is not always the case.

In my practice as an estate planning attorney, I have seen many families struggle in the aftermath of mistakes made by their recently-deceased loved ones. Too often, these missteps could have been avoided through awareness, a reasonable amount of effort, and the assistance of a qualified professional. It is important to know about some of the most common estate planning mistakes so that they cannot threaten your family’s security and peace of mind.

Believing an Estate Is Too Small

While you may not be a high-profile business mogul or have vast holdings in real estate and other investments, you do have an estate, and it should be protected. If you own a home or a vehicle, maintain a bank account or life insurance policy, estate planning can help you decide what will happen to these things so that your family is not left fighting over them.

Estate planning can also be used to plan for your future while you are still alive. Instruments like living wills, powers of attorney, and others that can convey your wishes regarding your health care and finances for a time when you are no longer able to make such decisions for yourself.

Waiting Too Long

Many people—even those who know that estate planning is important—will put off discussing their estate plan until it is too late. Estate planning is partially an exercise in acknowledging one’s mortality, which can be very difficult for some. Other individuals may be intimidated by the idea of any legal process, even one that is meant to provide a better future for their families. Whatever the reason, waiting to create an estate plan can be a serious problem if an unforeseen tragedy occurs in the meantime.

Trusting the State

There are laws that govern the distribution of a person’s estate when he or she dies without an estate plan. The statutes that exist, however, may not match up well with what is best for your estate or your loved ones. Allowing the state to handle your estate can also result in your family’s affairs becoming public, as probate and other estate-related proceedings will not protect your privacy or that of your heirs.

One-and-Done Estate Planning

Over time, life changes and your estate plan must be reviewed regularly to determine if updates are needed. Too many people believe that once a will has been drafted or a trust has been set up, their estate planning job is done. Depending on your circumstances and those of your trustees, executor, or beneficiaries, your estate plan could become essentially obsolete in very short period of time unless you remain vigilant.

Not Seeking Help

With countless websites and tutorials available, it is easy to think that you can handle estate planning on your own. Do-it-yourself estate planning, however, can be very dangerous as the one-size-fits-all approach is often woefully inadequate. Your situation is unique and should be treated as such, and relying solely on online resources could lead to costly errors that may threaten the validity of your entire plan.

Call Us Today

One of the easiest ways to avoid making serious mistakes as you look to the future is by enlisting the guidance of an experienced Naperville estate planning attorney. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.

 

Sources:

CNBC

Forbes