Estate planning is something that many people put off until it’s too late. But if you’re one of the millions of people in Arizona who need an estate plan, don’t make these common mistakes! Avoiding these mistakes can help ensure your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. So what are they? Keep reading to find out!
1. Not designating beneficiaries properly.
When you create a will or trusts, you’ll need to designate beneficiaries. This is who will receive your assets after you die. Many people make the mistake of not designating beneficiaries properly. For example, they may forget to update their beneficiary designation when they get married or have children. Or, they might not realize that certain types of property need to be transferred differently than others.
2. Designating a minor as a beneficiary.
If you designate a minor as a beneficiary, the court will appoint a guardian to manage the assets until the child reaches adulthood. This can be costly and time-consuming. Plus, there’s always the chance that the court will appoint a guardian you didn’t choose. To avoid this, consider designating an adult friend or family member as the beneficiary of your assets.
3. Failing to fund a trust.
If you create a trust, you’ll need to fund it. This means transferring assets into the trust. Without funding the trust, it won’t do anything. Many people make the mistake of creating a trust and then forgetting to fund it. As a result, their loved ones have to go through probate instead of being able to receive the assets directly.
4. Leaving a tax nightmare for heirs.
If you’re not careful, your estate could be hit with a hefty tax bill. There are ways to minimize taxes, but you need to plan ahead. Otherwise, your heirs could be stuck with a big tax bill they can’t afford to pay.
5. One of the biggest estate planning mistakes of all is not having an estate plan.
Dying without a will or trust in place can cause all sorts of problems for your loved ones. They may have to go through probate, which can be costly and time-consuming. Or, they could end up fighting over your assets. To avoid all this, make sure you have an estate plan in place well before you need it.
6. Not reviewing your plan regularly.
Your estate plan is not set in stone. You may need to make changes as your life circumstances change. For example, you might need to update your will if you get married or have children. Or, you might want to change the beneficiaries of your assets. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to review your estate plan regularly and make changes as needed.
7. Not planning for long-term care.
If you become incapacitated, you’ll need someone to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf. This is called long-term care planning. Many people mistakenly believe that their health insurance will cover all their long-term care needs. But this is often not the case. To make sure you’re taken care of, it’s important to have a long-term care plan in place.
8. Not having a plan for incapacity.
If you become incapacitated, you’ll need someone to make decisions on your behalf. This is called a power of attorney. Many people mistakenly believe that their spouse or adult children will automatically be able to make decisions for them if they become incapacitated. But this is not always the case. To make sure your loved ones can make decisions for you if you can’t, it’s important to have a power of attorney in place.
9. Not naming a financial power of attorney.
If you become incapacitated, you’ll need someone to manage your finances. This is called a financial power of attorney. Many people mistakenly believe that their spouse or adult children will automatically be able to manage their finances if they become incapacitated. But this is not always the case. To make sure your loved ones can handle your finances if you can’t, it’s important to have a financial power of attorney in place.
10. Not naming a healthcare power of attorney.
If you become incapacitated, you’ll need someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is called a healthcare power of attorney. Many people mistakenly believe that their spouse or adult children will automatically be able to make medical decisions for them if they become incapacitated. But this is not always the case. To make sure your loved ones can make medical decisions for you if you can’t, it’s important to have a healthcare power of attorney in place.
Planning for the future can be difficult, but it’s important to make sure you avoid these common estate planning mistakes. If you have any questions about estate planning or would like help creating a plan that fits your needs, please call us today. We’re happy to assist you in any way we can and we want to make sure that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone.
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Probate law is a complex area of the legal profession that can be difficult to understand. At GillespieShields, our probate & estate planning attorneys have extensive experience in estate planning and will work with you towards an amicable resolution. 27 years of experience in estate planning and probate law means that our attorneys have helped many families navigate the legal system without any problems. We work with clients to find solutions for their reasonable goals, paying close attention along the way so they can feel confident about what’s happening legally throughout all stages of the process! Estate planning can seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. With just a little time and effort you will find yourself prepared for anything that may come up! The best part about working together? All of our estate plans are customized with love by our talented team of lawyers! During our private, one-on-one consultation, we’ll take the necessary time to answer any and all of your questions surrounding Arizona’s estate laws, your family’s unique situation, and how you can preserve your wealth for the next generation. Contact us today for your consultation!
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