When estate planning, avoid these missteps

When working to create an estate plan, many people understandably feel out of their element. You and many other Maryland residents may not know where to start or know what to include in your plans. Though this feeling is prevalent, you should not let it stop you from creating a comprehensive plan.

In fact, failing to create an estate plan is one of the biggest mistakes you or anyone else could make when it comes to getting your end-of-life wishes in order. Not only do you give up your ability to have a say in what happens to your estate after your death, but you also fail to give your surviving loved ones useful instructions.

Other mistakes to avoid

Unfortunately, it is easy to make mistakes with estate plans, and even the most seemingly minor issue could have major impacts. Therefore, you certainly want to avoid as many mistakes as you can when working on your plan, including these:

  • Not actively participating in the planning process: Because you do not have extensive knowledge on how to create an estate plan, you may feel as if you should sit back and let an experienced planner do all the work. While having knowledgeable help is advisable, actively participating can help ensure that you understand your plan.
  • Not updating beneficiaries: In some cases, you may have certain assets like retirement accounts or life insurance policies that allow you to name direct beneficiaries to those assets. If you do not update those beneficiary designations periodically to ensure they are still correct, passing them on later could become a problem.
  • Not funding revocable trusts: Trusts are useful planning tools that can help loved ones avoid probate and possibly save on taxes. However, if you forget to fund your revocable trust, it means that assets have not been transferred into the trust, essentially making it useless.

These examples are only a few of the many easy, but avoidable mistakes that could happen when estate planning. Fortunately, you can work to ensure that you do your part to create a comprehensive plan that will prove useful to you and your loved ones in the years to come. Discussing your wishes and concerns with an estate-planning attorney could allow you to move forward with the planning process effectively and allow you to discover tools that could benefit you and your estate.

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