It can be uncomfortable to think about death. Still, whether you have considerable assets or just a few, you likely want to have some control over what happens to your wealth. You also want to be sure that your family members, friends and health care professionals respect your end-of-life wishes.
Estate planning is not a one-time event. On the contrary, to be sure your estate plan is meaningful, you should periodically update it. You should also watch for some common mistakes. Here are three of them:
1. The plan is incomplete or missing altogether
The biggest error in estate planning is having an incomplete or missing plan. Unfortunately, according to some estimates, more than half of Americans over the age of 55 are making this error. If a review of your estate plan reveals you have not completed the process, it is never too late to begin.
2. The plan no longer reflects your true wishes
Because estate planning can be time consuming, it is easy to delay. Furthermore, after you finish writing a comprehensive plan, you may want to shelf it forever. Doing so, though, may be a mistake. For example, if you have started or ended relationships, your plan’s beneficiaries may not be current. Put simply, if any part of your estate plan does not reflect your true wishes, updating the plan as quickly as possible is essential.
3. The plan does not adhere to legal requirements
For an estate plan to be valid, it must adhere to certain legal requirements. Additionally, it must have precise language that clearly defines your intentions. If you have not looked at your plan in quite some time, there is a chance it may be legally invalid. Alternatively, it may use incorrect legal terms. Either way, you may need to rework your estate plan to put your mind at ease.
If you have an existing estate plan, you are already ahead of many of your neighbors. Nonetheless, if your plan has some errors, you may be asking for trouble. By periodically reviewing your plan for problems, you can ensure it meets both your needs and those of your beneficiaries.