Creating your estate plan is likely one of the most important things you will do during your lifetime. A well drafted estate plan protects and grows assets while you are alive and then allows those assets to provide for loved ones after your death. It can also protect your wishes with regard to things such as medical treatment, funeral and burial plans, and the distribution of assets after death. These are only a few of the many things a well thought out estate plan can accomplish. Given the importance of your estate plan, avoiding mistakes is clearly crucial. The best way to ensure that you avoid mistakes in your estate plan is to work closely with an experienced New York estate planning attorney; however, it may also help to know some common estate planning mistakes you wish to avoid.
As with any complex and potentially complicated endeavor, there are a virtually unlimited number of mistakes that could be made when it comes to estate planning, though the following are some of the most common:
- Waiting to plan – the two most common excuses people give for not having an estate plan in place are “I’m too young to need one” and “ I don’t have enough asset to need one.” The bottom line is you are never too young to have an estate plan in place. Moreover, for any people the most valuable asset is not technically an asset – it is their child. Regardless of the size or value of an estate, and estate plan is needed sooner rather than n
- Using “DIY” forms – today, almost any legal form can be accessed online. Those forms are frequently out of date, incorrect, and/or not state specific. Your estate plan is not the place to try and pinch pennies.
- Thinking small – don’t stop at just a Last Will and Testament. Incorporating other components into your plan, such as incapacity planning, business succession planning, and/or tax and probate avoidance makes your plan a comprehensive estate plan.
- Being an idealist – estate planning requires you to answer some difficult questions. This is not the time to be an idealist. Instead, think realistically as you answer those tough questions.
- Failing to update – after not creating a plan at all, failing to update is the most common mistake. A number of life events, such as births and deaths, marriage and divorce, and moves can render an estate plan ineffective.
If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning in general, or wish to get started on your estate plan, contact the experienced New York estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.