If you have been putting off estate planning, you are not alone. Research shows that close to 50 percent of Americans older than 55 do not have a will in place. However, experts say that failing to have an estate plan in place can cause serious problems for your loved ones after you pass away. As you start the estate planning process, make sure to avoid making the following mistakes.
Failing to create a plan
Many Georgia residents put off creating their estate plans until it is too late. The purpose of having an estate plan is to make sure your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. If you have children, your estate plan should specify who will become their guardian upon your death. Without a written plan in place, the state will essentially make these difficult decisions for you. Do not assume that your surviving spouse will automatically get everything you own when you die. If that is what you want, make sure to put it in writing.
Failing to continuously update your plan
Many people have a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to estate plans. However, life is constantly changing, so it is important that you continue to communicate with your attorney to ensure that your plan is modified accordingly. Generally, your plan should be updated every few years or whenever there is a big event in your life such as:
- The birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
- Death of a spouse, child, or other beneficiary
- Illness or disability
- Career change or starting/closing of a business
- Inheritance or purchase of a new property
Failing to plan for long-term care
As much as we do not want to think about it, we are all getting older. The older we get, the more we will need to consider our need for long-term care. You can pay for your long-term care out of pocket or consider long-term care insurance, Medicaid and disability insurance to pay for your long-term care needs. You will also need to decide whether you will receive your long-term care at home, in a nursing home, or in an assisted living facility.
Estate planning is a complicated process, but an experienced attorney can help make sure everything is handled and give you and your family peace of mind.