You may have estate planning in mind, and you may even have gone as far as to execute a will or trust. However, is a will all you need in your estate plan? And will your estate plan be enforceable upon your death? Avoiding the following mistakes made in the estate planning process can ensure your wishes are met.
Failing to review your estate plan periodically
Even after you execute your estate plan, you should not leave it tucked away in a filing cabinet gathering dust. This is because your life will continue to change, and your estate plan should reflect these changes. For example, you may have children or grandchildren, you may remarry or you may gain or lose assets. Reviewing your estate plan periodically to ensure it reflects these changes can help ensure your wishes are met.
Failing to plan for the federal estate tax
If you have a great deal of wealth, your estate may be subject to the federal estate tax upon your death. Currently, this applies to estates worth $11.4 million per person or $22.8 million per couple. There are a variety of ways those of significant wealth can reduce their estate to avoid it being taxed on the federal level following their death. Attorneys in Illinois can explain more information about the federal estate tax.
Failing to update beneficiaries on your accounts
If you have a retirement account, bank account or life insurance policy, it is likely that you have named a beneficiary to those accounts, and that you review these beneficiaries periodically. For example, if you name your spouse as a beneficiary and later divorce, you will want to change your beneficiary to another person. After all, most people do not want their ex to inherit their assets.
Failing to name a guardian if you have minor children
If you have minor children, you will want to formally name a guardian for your child in your will. A guardian is the person who will raise your child in the event that you and your child’s other parent die before the child is grown. It is important also to include instructions on how you want to provide for your child’s financial support, rather than leaving all money decisions up to the guardian.
Do not rush through estate planning
Ultimately, it is important not to rush through the estate planning process or consider it a one-and-done event. This post does not contain legal advice. Those in the Geneva area who want to avoid these mistakes and other estate planning mistakes may want to work with a professional when executing and reviewing their estate plan.