An estate plan ensures your assets and property are dispersed according to your wishes after you are gone. While the planning process is different for everyone, there are a few common mistakes people make that can result in your assets being distributed to the wrong person. To help you avoid this unfortunate scenario, Forbes offers the following advice.
Trusts must be funded properly
Many people use revocable trusts within their estate plans. While these tools are useful, they also contain a few pitfalls if you’re not fully aware of how they work. Any property or assets must be changed to show ownership by the trust. With property, you would need to change the deeds to establish new ownership, while retirement accounts would need updating to show the same. If you are unsure of the correct process for funding a trust, be sure to speak with an attorney.
Estate plans should be updated
Even the best estate plans must be updated from time to time. For instance, if you have divorced or gotten remarried, had a child, or experienced a death in the family, now is a good time to go over your plan and ensure it still meets your wishes. Even if no major life changes have occurred, you should still review your plan every two years or so to ensure you’re satisfied.
You must include powers of attorney
Powers of attorney step in to make important decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. People usually have one in place to deal with financial matters, while another person would make medical decisions. Keep in mind that you could become incapacitated at any time, which illustrates the importance of having this aspect of your estate plan squared away as soon as possible. When choosing powers of attorney, make sure you pick people you can trust and who are responsible enough to act on your behalf.