According to a report from BMO Wealth Management, 40 percent of parents never have an estate planning conversation with their children, and fewer than one-third of adults reported knowing any details of their parents’ estate plan. Only a quarter of adults said their spouses knew where they kept estate planning documents, and 40 percent of people who had lost their parents said they found the estate plan to be unfair. However, there are steps Georgia residents can take to better prepare family members.
When estate plans fail, it is often because family members do not have adequate emotional or financial preparation. It can be difficult for people to begin learning about managing assets only after a parent’s death. To avoid this, people should have regular discussions with their family members about their plan and the rationale behind it. This may also reduce the likelihood of disputes over the estate.
Estate plans may also fail because of not completing certain tasks. Some people create a living trust but do not fund it. Others create documents that appoint people to handle their financial and medical needs if they are incapacitated, but they do not tell anyone about the documents. It is also important to review and update an estate plan regularly to make sure it still reflects the maker’s wishes.
People who are using trusts in their estate plan can avoid some common errors as well. For example, it is important to pick the right trustee. This may be a professional instead of a family member since a trust may require financial and legal expertise to administer correctly. People may also want to talk to an attorney about the advantages and disadvantages of a revocable and irrevocable trust and which type will best suit their goals.