• By: Legacy Law Centers
  • Published: May 8, 2024
A man and woman in business attire sitting at a desk discussing estate planning insights in Leesburg, VA and Nashville, TN. - Legacy Law Centers

Estate planning is incredibly important, allowing you to protect your assets, provide for your loved one well beyond you have passed away, and ensure your goals and wishes are carried out. But, unfortunately, like so many other things in life, estate planning misconceptions abound. These misconceptions, as well as instances where things are genuinely complicated, can serve as a major barrier to entry, so to speak, to the practice area. We’ve found this discourages many from taking advantage of the many tools and opportunities available to them through estate planning.

Part of what drives Sam Mansoor of Legacy Law Centers is removing these barriers of entry to estate planning and bringing it to as many people as possible. He’s prepared this article to bring clarity that deconstructs estate planning misconceptions you may have, as well as offers some key guidance that aims to empower you with the knowledge necessary to make the best decisions about your future that you can. In it, we will discuss common mistakes many make when it comes to estate planning and how you can avoid falling into the same trap as many others.

Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes we’ve observed over the years that people make far too often.

Failing To Plan

Many people fail to create an estate plan at all. This is the most grave mistake of all, quite frankly. There are many reasons for this, but many believe for one reason or another that estate planning is really only for the rich or older people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Estate planning can have immediate benefits for anyone, regardless of their age or level of wealth.

Failing To Update An Existing Plan

As life unfolds, it changes. When it does, you need to reflect these changes in your estate plan. This is especially true of major events, such as:

  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Marriage;
  • Divorce;
  • Death of a family member;
  • Major changes to your income;
  • And more.

We recommend periodically reviewing your plan every few years, even if no major life changes occur during that period.

These changes can have significant impacts on your estate. Not updating essential estate planning documents in your portfolio can cause your estate to be subject to consequences — sometimes very severe ones. It may also cause disputes among your beneficiaries, which isn’t something you’d want to stain their final memory of you.

Choosing The Wrong Executor Or Trustee

The role of executor or trustee isn’t one to be taken lightly. Many people make the mistake of selecting theirs based exclusively on their relationship, failing to evaluate whether the person actually has the ability to handle the responsibilities associated with the role. We recommend selecting someone who is trustworthy, competent, and capable.

Having A Mismatched And Generic Plan

With all of the do-it-yourself tools on the market these days, it’s tempting to use one to address your estate planning needs. It’s great to take the initiative on your own to this end, but this approach is nearsighted, at best, and, in some exceptional instances, may work against you in terms of actually protecting your assets. These tools do not provide the tailored advice an estate planning attorney can, leaving you exposed to a considerable amount of risk should you make any oversights or miscalculations, which is fairly likely.

How An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Avoid These Problems

An estate planning lawyer will provide you with customized solutions designed specifically to meet your needs and serve as the vehicle for you to attain your goals.

They’ll also help you understand the many options available to you, be it creating a will, trust, powers of attorney, or healthcare directives. Each of these plays an important role in a robust estate planning portfolio and can serve you well, depending on your circumstances.

More than this, an estate planning lawyer can help you develop a strategic plan that minimizes the tax liabilities of your estate and protects your assets from potential creditors. This will go far to save precious time, effort, and emotional energy that your loved ones would much rather dedicate to grieving and healing in the wake of your passing.

Not accounting for these common mistakes as you initiate your estate planning portfolio can spell disaster for your legacy and your loved ones’ well-being. If you have specific questions about an existing estate plan or want to have your first go at starting a plan, email or call Legacy Law Centers at (571) 260-0827 today. We will be happy to assist you in securing the best future possible for your loved ones that you can however we can.

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