4 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate planning can be a touchy subject. Luckily, more and more people are coming to realize just how crucial it is to plan for their deaths, but even knowing its importance, few people want to spend time thinking about it. We understand why people might shy away from it. After all, estate planning deals with some very difficult subjects: your own or your spouse’s mortality, dividing assets among your children and grandchildren (perhaps unequally in some cases), and giving control over decision-making to someone else. It’s no wonder most people want to avoid thinking about it. But a recent article in the New York Times will motivate you to think again about your estate plan. Writer Paul Sullivan has identified four common estate planning mistakes, and suggests a program for identifying them in your own plan. Look carefully, and have your attorney look with you, because failure to recognize even one of these issues in your estate plan could completely unravel all the time and money you put into the creation of it:

  1. Naming the wrong heirs—failure to update your accounts after a divorce or other major life change, or failure to transfer your accounts correctly in the first place.
  2. Liquidity deficit—passing on assets that value highly, but cannot be sold quickly or easily enough to pay estate taxes when they are due (real property, artwork, antiques, etc.)
  3. Lack of estate management at crucial times—distributing everything immediately upon your death is not always the best strategy.
  4. Choosing an unqualified executor—choosing well-meaning but unqualified family members over skilled professionals.

Any one of these mistakes can be disastrous, but the good news is that once they’ve been identified they are easy enough to fix. Our firm understands the challenges involved with planning your estate, and can help ensure that you’ve covered ALL your bases. Don’t let the hard work and money you’ve put into your estate plan go to waste.