The estate plan you create now will hopefully provide some comfort to your family after you’re gone. That’s why avoiding common mistakes is so important; otherwise, you may unduly burden your loved ones with untangling your estate and determining how your assets should be dispersed.
According to The Street, beneficiary designations are a common problem for estate planners. Even if you have a valid will that expresses your wishes for the proceeds of retirement accounts and insurance policies, these actions will not be carried out unless the beneficiary designations on those documents state the same. When there is a dispute your estate will end up in probate court, which is costly as well as time-consuming. You also run the risk of having your assets given to the wrong people.
Also, keep in mind that circumstances among your heirs can change drastically over the years. You might also experience quite a few changes yourself, including new marriages, divorce, and even more children. To keep up with the changing nature of life, make sure you revise your estate plan as needed. Try to look over wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations every few years or so to make sure they’re still in line with your wishes.
Even the best estate plan won’t be much help if your family can’t access it. Try to keep information related to bank accounts, financial statements, wills, and trusts organized and easily accessible for loved ones. Along with providing a copy of documents to your attorney, you can also store them at your home. If you’re concerned about safety, keep this information in a lockbox to prevent it from being stolen. Just make sure you give an extra key to a trustworthy individual, such as a friend or family member.