Estate planning can be a difficult topic and is likely to touch on unpleasant emotions. However, it is an important part of comprehensive, responsible financial planning. Mistakes can be costly and some pitfalls can be difficult to recognize. In this three-part series, we will explore some of the biggest mistakes individuals can make in estate planning. Learning about these mistakes can help you avoid them and ensure that your estate plan allows you to distribute your assets to your heirs in the way you want.
Not Having an Estate Plan
Unfortunately, many individuals put off estate planning until it is too late. Sometimes, the unexpected can occur and a family can be caught without an estate plan in place. Without a Will, your estate will be subject to distribution based on your state’s intestate succession statutes. Often, this can be a long and difficult process that may also leave your estate open to significant financial penalties from the state and by way of taxes that could have been anticipated and addressed with a comprehensive estate plan. Additionally, a comprehensive estate plan can include documents that spell out your wishes regarding medical care and other significant decisions. In the absence of such documents, it may be difficult to have your wishes carried out.