You worked your whole life to build assets and wealth, so you want to rest assured that those assets remain protected after you’re gone. A solid estate plan ensures your wishes are respected when it comes to how your assets are handled, but it can also offer some protection against taxes and other expenses.
Even if you don’t have a high level of wealth, you must still take estate planning seriously. This entails avoiding the following missteps, which can derail your estate plan and cause frustration among your heirs.
Not Updating Your Will
A last will and testament is the cornerstone of any good estate plan. Over the years, the circumstances in your life will change, sometimes drastically. You may get married, get divorced, have more children, open your own business, experience major health issues, in addition to a variety of other circumstances. These life changes can also affect the details in your will, and if you don’t make the proper updates the document may fail to offer protection. Review your will once every few years with an attorney to determine whether it still applies to your unique situation.
Not Appointing a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that affords another person authority over your life. A financial power of attorney allows someone else to make financial decisions on your behalf, while a health care power of attorney lets them make medical decisions. Both are crucial in the event you become incapacitated by injury or illness; in which case you may no longer be able to make these important decisions on your own. If you don’t choose a representative while you’re of sound mind, the court will do so on your behalf.
Not Choosing the Right Person to Be Your Power of Attorney
When it comes to financial matters, the person you choose should be responsible in their own lives. That way you can rest assured that your bills will continue to be paid and smart decisions will be made should there be a need to sell off property you own. When it comes to medical issues, the person you choose to be your power of attorney must be sympathetic to your personal decisions regarding end of life care, resuscitation, and other sensitive issues. This person must also be comfortable communicating your wishes to medical staff as well as your family, who may be at odds with them.
Not Implementing a Trust
There’s a misconception that trusts are only for the ultra-wealthy. It’s definitely true that irrevocable trusts can lower the tax burden of people with large estates, but even people with moderate wealth can make use of these estate planning tools. Establishing a trust allows you to avoid probate, which is the costly and time-consuming process of proving a will is valid. Trusts also give your greater control over how your assets are dispersed. You can stipulate installment payments or require beneficiaries to take some kind of action (such as graduating college) before they can receive funds.
Where to Turn When You Have Estate Planning Questions in Albuquerque
While you can tackle estate planning on your own, you’re at risk of making one or more of the above mistakes when you take the DIY route. Working with the experienced estate planning team at Walk-In Wills.comensures the creation of a personalized plan that effectively meets your needs. Our services not only allow you to preserve and protect your assets, we can also spare you the hassle of probate and decrease your tax burden.