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5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Nov. 12, 2020

Every estate plan has its own features, which is one of the reasons why it's important to hire a lawyer that specializes in estate planning to help you create your plan. But while each plan is unique, there are some common mistakes that people make. Continue reading to learn more about what to watch out for as you plan for the future, and if you're in need of an estate lawyer in Conyers, contact Sharline S. Green, PC.

Not Understanding the Estate Plan

Estate law, like all forms of law, can be confusing! And many people rely on the estate planner or estate lawyer that they're working with to do everything they need. Many people sign the paper and then say to their friends and family “I have no idea what I just signed.” While it's important to speak up and ask questions during the estate planning process, it's also important to work with an estate lawyer who does their very best to make sure that you understand the basics of how the plan works.

I started my law firm because even though I went to law school, I only discovered how ignorant I was of all that estate planning entailed when I was in the process of creating a will to help protect my children. I quickly learned how ignorance could leave my family exposed to risk and hardship and decided to shift my career to helping individuals and families prepare for dealing with death, disability, or incapacity. My number one goal is to help you create a plan that addresses you and your family's needs — and to make sure that you understand the estate plan you have created!

Not Updating the Plan Over Time

While it can be tempting to sign your estate plan and forget it, simply having a plan isn't enough. Your estate plan should be updated after major life events or when your goals change. For example, if a new family member is born, you may need to adjust the beneficiary designations in your will. Be sure to revisit your estate plan any time a big life change occurs and adjust as needed.

Not Planning for Disability or Long-Term Care

Many aging adults will require some form of long-term care before the end of their life, and this is something you can (and should) factor into your estate plan. Nursing home costs can be as high as $100,000 a year and home health aides can cost upwards of $50,000. No comprehensive estate plan is complete without planning for some form of future disability or long-term care, and this is something an estate lawyer can help you plan for.

Not Updating Power of Attorney

Your estate plan should include powers of attorney, and you'll need at least two — one for finances and money for medical care. Many people don't have either of these documents, or they haven't kept them up to date or thought much about the details that should be included. Granting power of attorney is a big decision, and it's a conversion that should be had with loved ones as you're working on estate planning.

Improper Ownership of Assets

Many of your most valuable assets may be owned by multiple people, such as your spouse or children. While there may be occasions where spouses would want to keep property separate, but if you own property jointly with a spouse, it makes transferring the property to your spouse after your death easier.

If you also own a business, if you have accidentally titled the business property in your own name, that would also fall into the category of improper ownership of assets and make executing your estate plan difficult. Other times, people think that selling real estate property to their children at a very low price can help them avoid a tax burden, but these are considered gifts and can force the new owner to file a gift tax.

Sharline S. Green, Pc - Estate Planning Conyers

I'm here to help individuals and families plan and prepare for the future and make the tough decisions that will make it easier for your family when the unthinkable happens. Estate planning can be empowering, and it's my job as an estate lawyer to provide you with the information you need to make better decisions now so that you can protect your family in the future. Schedule a consultation today.