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Common estate planning mistakes

| May 4, 2020 | Estate Planning

Many Pittsburgh area residents understand the importance of estate planning and have taken the time to create an estate plan for their family. Others may not have had the chance yet to work on their estate plan or may not understand how one works. It is important for people to understand what some common estate planning mistakes are.

If there is a Will there is a Way. The most common estate planning mistake is not having a plan at all. Families can face obstacles if a loved one dies without an estate plan in place. Almost every adult should have an estate plan, even a basic one, which covers how they want their assets distributed, who should be guardians of their children, the naming of estate administrators, and having health directives in place. If a tragic accident occurs in which a person becomes incapacitated having these plans in place can greatly help a family during this tough time. We tell our clients that having such plans in place end disputes among family members which is just like giving them a precious gift when they die.

Another estate planning mistake is not hiring a professional to create estate planning documents. Although these documents may seem to be something that can be done at home, hiring a professional who specializes in estate planning can ensure a person’s needs are covered and that the right documents are created, including powers of attorney and a living will.  The law and the Rules of Estates and Fiduciary have drastically changed in recent years and expertise in these areas is essential.

The good news is that these documents are relatively inexpensive and can be done quickly. The better news is that they can be done via conference call and usually do not require in person appointments. The best news is that once these documents are prepared and filed appropriately, there is almost no possibility for dispute or litigation by the surviving beneficiaries.

Once a plan is created an important task is to review it often. Not reviewing an estate plan can lead to an estate plan being out of date or not accurate. An estate plan should be reviewed if there is a marriage, divorce, death, new child, or other life event. The final estate planning mistake is not taking trusts into consideration as an estate planning tool. A trust can be for anyone, not just wealthy families, and can help a family avoid probate and smoothly pass assets to designated loved ones. These updates can be made via Codicils and often don’t require revision of the entire estate plan documents. Again, this is easy, fast and cheap.

Pittsburgh area residents who are interested in creating an estate plan or updating an existing one should contact an attorney who specializes in estate plans. The attorneys at Beroes Law Center understand that every family is unique and estate plan needs vary on a variety of factors. At Beroes Law Center the first consultation is free. Call to schedule a conference over the phone today to put these worries behind you.