Naperville Lawyer Discusses Some of the Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes
Estate planning is similar to flossing, eating healthy, and doing your taxes. We know it is a necessary task which has great benefit, but we sometimes procrastinate or find reasons not to do it. In fact, less than half of Americans have a will, trust, or other estate planning instrument in place.
In my experience as an estate planning attorney, I have met many people who I could tell were hesitant to delve into the world of estate planning. I have also seen the peace of mind and pride these clients experience when they complete an estate plan and safeguard their final wishes. If you are jumping into the realm of estate planning, make sure to avoid the most common estate planning mistakes.
Assuming That Skipping an Estate Plan Will Not Have Negative Consequences
Many people assume that it is no big deal not to have a will or other estate planning documents. They justify this by saying that they do not care what happens to their property after they pass away. Even if you are the type of person who does not place much importance on material possessions, an estate plan still has many benefits for you and your family.
If you pass away without a will, your surviving family will be tasked with making decisions about your property on your behalf. They will have to participate in the probate process while simultaneously dealing with the grief of losing a loved one. Making an estate plan now saves your family significant burden in the future.
Choosing the Wrong Person to Manage Your Estate
Depending on your particular needs, you may choose an executor, power of attorney for healthcare, durable financial power of attorney, and/or trustees who have authority to speak on your behalf. The individual(s) you choose to perform these roles have a serious responsibility. It is important to choose someone who is capable of handling the job.
Unfortunately, too many people simply choose a person with whom they have a good personal relationship. However, the person you are closest to is not always the best choice. Instead, base your decision on who has the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to do a good job managing your estate.
Not Considering a Trust
Many people are unaware of the many advantages that come with a revocable living trust. They may even assume that they are not wealthy enough for a trust. One of the greatest benefits of a revocable living trust is that it can be undone if the grantor (person who creates the trust) changes his or her mind.
The assets controlled by a trust are also usually able to avoid probate, or the court-supervised process of validating a will. A trust is unlike a will in that it is a private contract between the grantor and the trustee. Wills that go through probate are a matter of public record. On the other hand, the contents of a trust are only available to beneficiaries and heirs.
Contact Naperville Estate Planning Attorney
For help with a wide range of estate planning concerns, contact an experienced DuPage County wills and trusts lawyer from the Gierach Law Firm. Call us at 630-756-1160 today to get the answers you need to whatever estate planning questions you may have so that you can avoid costly mistakes.