estate planning

Estate planning mistakes are unfortunately common. After all, it’s a topic that many people would rather avoid. Estate planning doesn’t have to be scary, though, and you can avoid the most common errors in estate planning by learning more about them. 

5 Not Discussing the Estate Plan with Loved Ones

A major benefit of having a will is that it can also benefit your friends and family. However, after making an estate plan, many people fail to have a discussion with loved ones about their wishes. Talking about the aspects of your estate plan can help set expectations and avoid disagreements with how your estate is handled. 

4 Forgetting to Update the Plan

Another common mistake is already having an estate plan, but failing to make changes as necessary. Things change in our lives: marriages, divorces, kids and grandkids, or a sudden change in assets all call for an updated estate plan. Be sure to keep beneficiaries up to date and review all of your estate planning documents every few years or after major life events like getting married or receiving an inheritance.

3 Making Mistakes with Beneficiaries

The way that you designate beneficiaries is important, and errors with beneficiaries can cause a lot of conflict when settling your estate. For example, naming different beneficiaries on a retirement account and in the will means that one party may be left with nothing. Go over all of your documents with an estate planning expert like an attorney to ensure that there is no confusion with how you want your assets to be distributed. 

2 Choosing the Wrong Plan

DIY estate planning might sound like a good idea that saves you money and ensures that your estate is handled exactly how you want. However, making your own estate plan can prove to be a massive mistake – not to mention an expensive one. Each person has different needs when it comes to their estate plan, but doing it all yourself means that some areas may be neglected, misinterpreted, or invalid. For example, Missouri has specific laws surrounding what makes a valid will. Instead of taking the DIY approach or following a one-size-fits all plan, consider talking with an estate planning expert who can help you avoid common estate planning mistakes. 

1 Failing to Make a Plan

Without a doubt, the biggest mistake people make when it comes to estate planning is thinking that they don’t need to make one at all. Most people without an estate plan think they’re too young, they don’t have enough assets, or their loved ones will follow their wishes. The reality is that estate planning can benefit everyone. Not only will having an estate plan protect your assets, but it can also keep your loved ones from having to go through the probate process. 

Start Forming an Estate Plan Today

If you are ready to start thinking about estate planning or want to make changes to your current plan, a Missouri estate planning attorney can help. The Law Office of Mark Harford has helped clients across Missouri with their estate planning needs, and we’re ready to help you too. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss an estate plan and get the process started toward protecting your assets.