As an Estate Planning and Probate Firm, we take a look at the big picture that is your life and create a plan that protects the legacy you leave behind. When you create an estate plan, you are not just leaving your things to someone else. You are providing a guide for your loved ones to follow. You are creating an umbrella of protection so that the legacy you worked so hard for is protected.
Building a comprehensive estate plan, is a job with many moving parts. A simple mistake can have detrimental effects on you and your loved ones.
What are some common mistakes in Estate Planning?
Lack of Communication:
A major part of creating an estate plan is assigning agents to act on your behalf. Not just Executors! Think Powers of Attorney, Advance Directives for Health Care, HIPAA, Guardians for minor children…etc.
There are a lot of jobs to assign and not many willing or capable candidates. It’s not just about who you trust but who can actually do the job. Speak with your nominees about what their role entails and make sure they are willing and able to do it.
* If you chose someone who works in the financial field, they may be restricted in what capacity they can act on your behalf due clauses in their employment contracts.
This is why communication is important BEFORE your documents become effective.
Don’t just assume they can do it.
Too many hands in the pot:
It’s not easy to choose who you want to act on your behalf. It takes someone trustworthy, capable, and motivated. Choosing multiple trustworthy, capable and motivated individuals to act on your behalf, though nice in theory, may not be the most practical decision.
For example, assigning separate agents to act as Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney, can work, as long as they CAN work together. Imagine being incapacitated, now you have two people responsible for your well-being; one for your financials and one for your health care – how well would they work together to make sure you are cared for? The same can apply to assigning co-guardians for minor children, co-executors of your Will and Trust.
Choosing multiple agents can be tricky – not impossible – but tricky. It’s important to understand what each role entails. To make the right choice, it’s advisable to seek the guidance of someone who can see all the angles. This brings us to our next mistake….
Creating a plan without a guide:
As we mentioned before, there are a lot of moving parts to consider when building your plan. It’s important to speak with an expert in Estate Planning when creating it. As estate planning attorneys, we consider all the angles. We look at your life as a whole and the future as well.
It not just about who will get what.
Things to consider:
Tax repercussions for your estate and your beneficiaries
Local and Federal Trust laws
Divorce protection for yourself and your children & their spouses
Assets outside the state you live in
Guardianship for minor children
Children with special needs
Failing to Up-Date Your Documents:
We talked about this last month and we will talk about it again this month – it’s that important! Your estate plan is not a “set it and forget it” type of thing. Life will happen and the people & things in it may change. Make sure to revisit your documents regularly so your agents, beneficiaries, assets, etc…are always up-to-date.
Not Creating an Estate Plan:
The #1 biggest mistake you can make is not doing anything a all. In the state of Georgia, if you die intestate (without an estate plan) the Government will create one for you. If you become incapacitated without an estate plan, the Government will take care of your life and assets for you. Creating a plan ensures you are in control during life and after death.
As an Estate Planning & Probate Firm, we take the time to guide you through the process. We understand that every individual is different and that no matter how large or small your estate is, it deserves absolute care and consideration. We will develop a plan that suits your specific needs.
To schedule an Estate Planning Consultation contact us at 770.693.2426.
To learn more about the Estate Planning services we offer CLICK HERE.