When creating your estate plan, it’s important to take the proper precautions to avoid common errors. Even seemingly small mistakes can result in your estate ending up in probate court, which costs money and time. To avoid possible disputes, Forbes offers the following advice.
Trusts are an important estate planning tool, but they’re only useful when properly funded. This requires changing deeds and titles to show ownership by the trust; otherwise, these assets will not be included in your estate plan. Trusts can also be linked to a schedule of assets, which offers greater detail on what is to be included within the trust. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, speak with an estate planning attorney for more information.
You also want to give some thought to your powers of attorney. These are people you appoint to make important decisions on your behalf, including financial and medical matters. If it’s been a while since you created your estate plan, take a moment to review your powers of attorney to ensure they still meet your needs. The person you select for the role should be competent and fully prepared to carry out your wishes regarding your estate or the type of health care you wish to receive at the end of your life.
Finally, you want to review the entire estate plan every few years or so. Changing life circumstances, such as new marriages, divorces, and the birth of children, can easily render your plan obsolete. Changes to your financial status, such as a sudden influx of money or the loss of a job, should also trigger a review of all relevant estate planning documents.