Estate planning — what does it involve and how do you go about the process of putting one together? The answer to this question is wide-ranging because everyone has a unique set of circumstances that plays a role in how they develop this plan. You will ultimately have to make some crucial decisions when it comes to protecting your loved ones and distributing assets to your heirs.
With all that being said, you also want to avoid making certain mistakes when creating your estate plan. Otherwise, legal and financial complications will potentially emerge, making it difficult for your surviving family members to settle your estate. Here are five disastrous mistakes that our estate planning attorneys in San Diego recommend to avoid:
Mistake #1 — Failure to Discuss Your Estate Plan with Family
You should have a conversation with your family and make your plans clear when it comes to managing and distributing assets that are in your name. Give them realistic expectations on how you plan to manage everything. If you fail to disclose your plans, then this can cause strife and turmoil among your family members, which will drag out the process of settling your estate after you pass away. This is especially true if your wishes have any unequal distribution amongst heirs. If you’re unable to have this difficult conversation while living, a written letter along with your estate plan can always be a helpful tool as well.
Related post: 6 Life Events That Could Change Your Estate Plan
Mistake #2 — Naming Only One Beneficiary
Did you know that you can name successor beneficiaries for your estate in your Living Trust or Last Will & Testament? This can ensure that your assets pass to the person of your choosing in the event that the first beneficiary passes away. Your estate planning attorney in San Diego will provide you with your options and walk you through this process.
Mistake #3 — Failure to Account for Your Children
Although you hope that this never comes to pass, you could potentially pass away while your children are still minors. When creating your estate plan, take the opportunity to designate guardians that will care for your little ones during their minority. You should also consider your children’s financial and educational prospects after you pass away. Will you leave behind a sizeable inheritance? Do you want to encourage them to graduate from college? In most cases, you will not want to leave these assets to your children without putting in place some type of trust with guidelines on when and how the children should inherit. The terms of a minor trust are completely customizable according to your wishes. You may opt to distribute their inheritance at certain ages in certain percentages, or incentivize the children toward achieving set goals.
Related post: 6 Ways Your Estate Plan Can Protect Your Children
Mistake #4 — Forgetting About a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directives
When planning your estate, you can’t overlook the fact that you need to designate someone as your official healthcare proxy. In other words, if at some point you become medically incapacitated, you can assign power of attorney to someone you trust so that they can make important decisions on your behalf. It’s important to not only name your healthcare agent, but also to give them guidance on what you would want in the event you cannot speak on your own. Also, you will want to appoint a financial power of attorney who will be able to make financial decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to for any reason. These two tools will help keep your family out of Probate court for a Conservatorship over you while you are alive but incapacitated.
Related post: 4 Documents You Must Have in Your Estate Plan
Create Your Estate Plan Today
Are you searching for professional assistance to help secure your assets and prepare your family for the future? The estate planning attorneys here at Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys have plenty of legal experience, serving a wide range of clients throughout San Diego. Schedule an appointment with us today and we can help you get the process started.
Testimonial from Tina, Satisfied Estate Planning Client in San Diego
Attorney Michael Jenkins was a referral for us and after doing several interviews with others, we selected him for his responsiveness, his understanding of our needs, his ability to work with some very complex trusts and estate planning, his professionalism, and his compassion. We had provided our situation; scenarios and he came fully prepared with answers to our questions in the initial consultation -which was at no charge. He recognized our need for urgency and delivered as promised, making himself available to us whenever we needed to gather clarification and understanding. We initially were looking for someone who could speak in a different language that my parents could better understand, but we felt a true sense of care and trust after meeting him. He was very patient, and we never felt rushed. I recommend him and firm highly based on the customer service we received, his expertise, and he was a true pleasure to work with.