Regardless of their level of wealth, people in Georgia can benefit from estate planning. However, people often make mistake when establishing their final wishes for the future. Here are some common mistakes one should avoid when creating an estate plan.
- Procrastination – Generally, people don’t like to think about dying, and they may feel the subject of estate planning is too morbid. However, delaying estate planning or not doing it at all can have serious repercussions to heirs and surviving family when the inevitable occurs or if the estate owner becomes incapacitated through illness or injury.
- Not keeping things up to date – A person’s estate plan should accurately reflect his or her wishes regarding individual assets and other end-of-life matters. People should ensure their estate plans are up to date to include any major life changes, such as a birth, marriage, divorce or death of some other member of the family.
- Beneficiaries don’t match – People name beneficiaries for their estate, but they can also list beneficiaries on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. If an estate owner updates his or her will but fails to make the same changes to beneficiaries on his or her life insurance policy, it could cause major problems when it come times to settle the estate.
- Making children joint owners – Many parents want to leave something behind for their children but naming an adult child as a co-owner of the estate’s assets is typically a bad idea. This will allow creditors to come after the children when the estate owner dies to recoup what they are owed. Better options include using powers of attorney, pay-on-death accounts and trusts to help shield assets and protect heirs from creditors.
These are a few of the most common mistakes people make when establishing their estate plans. A complex process that requires a lot of consideration, creating an estate plan is best done under the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney. An estate lawyer in Georgia can walk a client through all of his or her options and help the client create a comprehensive, effective estate plan that protects assets and ensures that they are distributed as intended when the times comes to settle the estate.