You may know that planning for the future is important, but you may not be sure where you should even start with that process. Like many others, you may know that a basic will can allow you some measure of control over what will happen in the future to your estate, but that's not all you need. Even for the most basic estates and simplest wills, it is prudent to try and avoid missteps.
If you make a mistake with your estate plan, it can eventually lead to problems for you down the road. Errors in the planning process may not be evident until much later when it is time to settle the estate. Making sure you do not commit any errors is prudent for your own peace of mind, but it can also be beneficial for your heirs and loved ones in the future.
Small mistakes, big problems
Many people are unaware that there could be a problem with their estate plan. This is one of the many reasons why it can be beneficial for a person to seek legal guidance when drafting a will or other legal documents that will be important in the future. Some of the most common estate planning mistakes that people make include the following:
- Mistakes with beneficiaries – When you do not have a beneficiary on certain types of accounts or forget to change a beneficiary after a major life change, it can cause problems in the future. This includes disputes when trying to settle the estate.
- Leaving gifts to beneficiaries – While it may seem like a good idea to leave a beneficiary a large gift with certain caveats, this can cause problems. It is prudent to think carefully about the terms you use when passing large assets on.
- Not planning for major life changes – It is a mistake to avoid planning for things like a potential disability or other needs you may have later on. This can be particularly complex if you are in a place where you cannot speak for yourself.
Of course, the biggest estate planning mistake a person can make is failing to have an estate plan in the first place. If you want to make sure that your existing plan is accurate and up-to-date or you want to avoid problems from the very beginning of this process, it can help to discuss your concerns with an experienced Washington D.C. estate attorney.