You’ve decided to create an estate plan, which is a great choice. Your estate plan may include various items, such as a will, trust, power of attorney or guardianship documents.
What you need as part of your estate plan depends on your specific situation. Once you have your estate plan set up, there are some common estate planning mistakes you should avoid going forward, to prevent complications down the road.
Creating your plan and never looking at it again
Creating an estate plan is not a one-time event. An estate plan is something you will need to review and update regularly.
One of the main pieces of your estate plan you should regularly review is your beneficiary designations, especially after major life events, such as death or divorce.
While a will is designed to save your family time and money by not having to go through the probate process, a will with outdated beneficiary information will not be much use.
Additionally, reviewing and updating beneficiaries as necessary will prevent unfortunate situations, such as an ex-spouse from receiving something when you wanted them to receive nothing.
Not documenting your assets
Another way to make things easier for your family is to create a document stating the location and information on all your assets. You can save your family a great deal of time and frustration by not making them have to try to track down assets in your will so they can be distributed.
Always communicate your intentions to your intended heirs. Complicated estate planning litigation in Texas often happens because someone thought they would be provided for in the will and later found out they were not.
The conversations might be difficult, but tell your heirs what you intended to leave them in your will. If your intentions change, tell them.
Before creating or making changes to your estate plan, it is best to talk with an attorney about your wishes, to learn all your options.