Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Estate planning is a crucial aspect of ensuring that your assets and loved ones are protected after you pass away. It’s vital for securing your legacy and making sure your loved ones are taken care of.

However, many people make common (sometimes big, sometimes small) mistakes that can have significant consequences on their estate plan and future. The whole point of estate planning is to provide you and your family with peace of mind knowing that your family’s success is secure and they will be safe. That’s why we always discourage clients from DIYing their estate plan as it can have dire consequences.

Whether you are just starting your estate planning journey or have already created a plan, our goal is to provide you with valuable insights that can help you make informed decisions and protect your legacy for generations to come!

Having an experienced attorney like Ben Weaver by your side will guarantee that you’ve got the best estate plan that fits your unique goals and needs. In this blog, we will explore the most common estate planning mistakes and how to avoid them…

Common Estate Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them with 23 Legal

1. Procrastination Pitfalls

Undoubtedly, the biggest mistake individuals make is procrastination. Delaying the process can only make it harder and more complicated to have a comprehensive plan. Waiting until you’re unwell or are going through a critical time can lead to mistakes and bad decisions. And don’t procrastinate on making updates, such as when there is a divorce, marriage, or death in the family!

Ben Weaver’s Pro Tip

Starting estate planning early is your best decision. Partner with an experienced estate lawyer like Ben Weaver to discuss your goals and your family’s needs. The attorney can then help tailor a plan for you and your family – one that offers you peace and the best use and distribution of your assets. You can also avoid complications that can arise due to a hurried process.

2. Neglecting the Living Will and Healthcare Proxy

Not having a living will or assigning a healthcare proxy is a common mistake. Both of these instruments are important to establishing your medical issues. In case you are incapacitated, the healthcare proxy makes the decisions on your behalf. Not having one can leave you and your family in a difficult position, and you may not get the same level of healthcare as you would have otherwise.

Ben Weaver’s Pro Tip

Firstly, ask your estate attorney to help you create a living will. Then, choose someone responsible and trustworthy to be your healthcare proxy. It ensures that your medical preferences are listed and taken into account when you need medical assistance. Assigning a proxy also saves your family from making decisions in such difficult and emotional situations, offering them much-needed support.

3. Overlooking the Importance of a Trust

Most individuals will have a will but won’t establish a trust. That’s because they often overlook its advantages. A trust gives you more control over the division of your assets, can also reduce estate taxes, and helps avoid probate. Without trust, your distribution process may be longer and more expensive.

Ben Weaver’s Pro Tip

Your estate planning lawyer will help you figure out what type of trust aligns with your goals. A well-structured trust gives you extra protection and control, benefiting you and your heirs!

4. Ignoring Power of Attorney (POA)

Like the healthcare proxy, very few people appoint a power of attorney (POA). It is an extremely critical mistake. A POA allows your assigned person to make financial decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so. Without a POA and a document, your family will have a tough time accessing and managing your financial matters.

Ben Weaver’s Pro Tip

Establish your financial goals and appoint a POA by consulting a trustworthy estate attorney. It will ensure your financial matters are safe and your family’s future is secure. Make sure your POA isn’t an ex-spouse or former partner!

Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)
5. Inadequate Beneficiary Designations

If you fail to update your beneficiary designations on financial accounts, insurance policies, and retirement plans, you may end up losing money. If your beneficiaries are not updated, your money could end up going to ex-spouses or people who are no longer in your life. Getting your money back is a long and tough battle. Learn about probate law in Illinois here!

Ben Weaver’s Pro Tip

It is essential to review all your documents, beneficiaries, POA, and proxy, and keep them updated. You need to do this, especially after major life events like marriage, divorce, the birth of your children, and the deaths of your loved ones. A professional lawyer can help you update all records so your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

6. DIY Estate Planning

DIY attempts at estate planning can be risky. Estate planning is complex, and a generic plan will not be well-suited to your needs. If you misunderstand the legal terms and jargon, you may run into complications later. You may lose your assets or have an unfruitful distribution that is costly, time-consuming, and exhausting for your heirs.

Ben Weaver’s Pro Tip

Estate planning is inherently personal, and you have your objectives and goals for your assets and legacy. A specialist real estate attorney can help you create a plan that meets your goals and optimizes your asset distribution. They also take care of the paperwork, ensuring it complies with state laws and is legally sound. Not only you but your children and heirs will also benefit if you have a real estate attorney like Ben Weaver by your side.

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to choose an executor you trust! Read more about that here.

“I was referred to 23 Legal LLC by a friend who was a former client of the firm. Can’t speak highly enough about Ben and his entire staff’s professionalism, efficiency and responsiveness. You are all true credits to the real estate legal industry. Will definitely hire again for my estate planning in the near future.” Client Testimonial

Plan Your Legacy (Successfully) with Illinois’ Estate Lawyer Ben Weaver

Avoiding common pitfalls and practicing careful planning are the keys to having a successful plan in place. This is an important process in your life that will be very worthwhile in securing your assets and your beneficiaries’ future – it’s important to do it properly. Having an expert lawyer by your side will keep you confident and your family at ease that you have the perfect plan tailored to your individual needs and desires, such as philanthropic charitable giving.

Don’t leave your legacy to chance or state laws. And don’t DIY it either! Hiring an estate attorney to help create your estate plan is a smart decision that can save you and your loved ones a lot of time, money, and stress in the long run. By working with a professional, you can ensure that your wishes are clearly outlined and legally enforceable, while also avoiding common mistakes that can lead to complications down the line.

Take matters into your own hands by connecting with estate lawyer Ben Weaver today!

Need help with creating a living will, setting up a trust, or designating a POA?

Accomplish your estate planning goals with 23 Legal: (847) 447-6004

Why Choose 23 Legal

23 Legal offers Real Estate and Estate Planning legal services to individuals, families, community associations and small business owners throughout Chicagoland. We know how intimidating “the law” can be. In fact, when most people think of law offices, they think of stuffy leather chairs, huge wooden desks and pompous lawyers who charge outrageous fees. That’s not us! We believe in 1-to-1; the same lawyer should work with you all the way through. Whether you have an estate planning issue, family trust concern, or you have a legal problem in regard to a new home, business, real estate or remodel, you need a lawyer who cares. That’s where Ben comes in! We are great listeners; more than that, we are lawyers who believe that our clients always come first.

Attorney Ben Weaver is an expert in Real Estate Law for Arlington Heights, Prospect Heights, Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Glenview, Park Ridge, Wheeling and the surrounding communities.

Contact attorney Ben Weaver for assistance with estate planning!

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