A certified financial planner recently wrote about the mistake she sees people making over and over. She that certain estate planning errors keep popping up, preventing people from effectively protecting their loved ones.
She wrote that several major mistakes resurface again and again: not having a will; failure to update beneficiaries; and failing to properly fund a trust.
Financial planner Elaine King also pointed out it’s important for you to “talk to your heirs while you’re still alive about your wishes.” In that way, you can understand their feelings about your estate planning decisions and perhaps make adjustments accordingly.
Let’s take a quick look at those four common errors:
- Not having a will: more than half of adults don’t have a will, King writes, “which is a recipe for disaster.” Failing to have a will can mean that a Florida probate court winds up making decisions about the distribution of your assets. Failure to have a will can also mean family confusion upon your passing – confusion that can sometimes lead to lawsuits.
- Not updating your beneficiaries: life is filled with changes such as divorces, births, relocations and deaths, among many others. If you fail to update your beneficiaries in your estate plan, you risk leaving assets to people no longer in your life, and risk, too, leaving out those who have entered your life or gained in importance.
- Not funding a trust: even if you have created a detailed and sound trust to protect assets and beneficiaries, the trust must still be funded properly when you pass. Trust-funding mechanisms should be examined by your estate planning attorney to ensure that everything will be funded and distributed as planned when the time comes.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney here in Brevard County to ensure that you have a will, properly funded trust and that all your estate planning documents list current beneficiaries.