When it comes to Estate Planning, I work with many different types of individuals and families at different stages of their life and needs. Too often, however, clients come to me after a painful road of mistakes. This blog is an attempt to help those out there who are unfamiliar or uncertain about estate planning avoid making three very easy to make mistakes when it comes to planning out their legacy, from being unaware of the need for it to be fearful of what it curtails.
1. That You Don’t Need an Estate Plan
For some, estate planning sounds like they need an estate – in the sense of massive property or wealth. While a part – even a sizable part – of estate planning is about your assets, it’s also about your wishes, including things like power of attorney or acting as a health care proxy if you become ill, disabled, or incapacitated. It’s about your wellbeing during life just as much as it is about protecting your assets and legacy for your loved ones upon your death.
2. Using “DIY” Software or Forms
There’s nothing wrong about wanting to know more about estate planning before you start (I provided an outline here), but it’s also important to understand the legal aspects of estate planning. This is more than just the right forms, or even following the right procedures: it’s about knowing the laws and requirements well to get you the coverage you need. Drafting your own will can be a great starting point for estate planning, but without consulting an attorney, you will be missing key comprehensive coverage as well as the chance that your wishes will not hold up in court.
3. Waiting Until the End
Many people see estate planning as an end-of-life problem, which is so often not the case. While people often come to me to talk about how to protect their assets after they die, so often I have to help them realize they haven’t thought of how to protect their assets when they are alive. These are tools that are useful throughout life like power of attorney and health care proxies, living trusts and Medicaid planning. I have helped many people in many different stages of their lives protect their assets now so they can be passed onto those they love afterward.
If you’d like to learn more about estate planning and the other parts of elder law, I implore you do check out my blog, What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do? If you have any questions or want to get started on your estate planning today, please contact me.