Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Estate

There are a number of mistakes that an estate planning and probate attorney will see over and over again over the course of their career. Many of these mistakes seem small, but can have a huge negative impact on your family after your death. More often than not these mistakes are made by people trying to create cheap and “easy” plans on their own without the guidance of an experienced professional. Luckily, these mistakes can be easily rectified with a phone call or a visit to our office.

Have you made any of the following mistakes in your estate plan?

10. Choosing guardians for your children who are far away, with no instructions for temporary guardians.

9. Hiding your estate documents (and other important financial documents, for that matter) away “somewhere safe” where no one can find them… not even when they need to find them.

8. Neglecting to leave information about your online accounts and assets.

7. Leaving it to your family to fight over mementos and heirlooms instead of creating a personal property memorandum.

6. Forgetting to coordinate beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, or other similar assets.

5. Neglecting to review your trust regularly (once every 2-5 years).

4. Not naming backup (or remote contingent) beneficiaries.

3. Naming only one Agent or Trustee, with no alternates.

2. Neglecting to fund your trust.

And the number 1 mistake to avoid when planning your estate is this: Not making a plan in the first place!