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Don't Make These 3 Mistakes When Planning Your Estate

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If you're like many people, you may not have started estate planning. It can be hard to make a plan that is executed after you are mentally incapacitated or have passed away, but doing so can help your loved ones in the future. You just have to be sure to avoid the following mistakes when estate planning.

Choosing the Wrong Person as Your Executor or Trustee

Your first impulse when choosing an executor is likely to be your spouse or one of your children. However, you need an executor who can objectively follow through with your plan. Sometimes, that person is not a child or a spouse. When you pass away or become ill, they may prefer to grieve and stay with family instead of worrying about finances, probate court and other estate issues. You very well may need to enlist the help of a financial planner to act as your executor or trustee.

Not Putting Life Insurance into a Trust

Many people are not aware of this, but any life insurance policies you have may be taxed by the IRS when you pass away. A way to avoid estate taxes on the life insurance you've bought is to set up a life insurance trust. By doing so, the trust itself, through the trustee acting on your behalf, serves as the owner and beneficiary of those policies. The trustee can then disperse the money to your loved ones, who might possibly use it to pay estate tax fees owed on other assets.  

Forgetting to Update Documents

It can take a long time for you to start estate planning, and when you have completed the paperwork, it can be even harder for you to revisit your plans. However, it is critical that you take the time to update documents and make sure that you still approve of what you originally stated. For instance, you may wish to reevaluate money amounts that you are leaving to family members. You might want to disown a child or ensure that a different person gets all of the money in your bank account. Update your documents so that your most recent desires can be adhered to.

Now that you are aware of the kinds of mistakes you should avoid, you can start planning your estate in a way that is fair and beneficial to all those you love. Work with a estate planning attorney, such as those at Skeen Law Offices, who can give you the proper guidance you need to come up with the best plan for you and your family.


2 July 2015