Regardless of your age or current level of wealth, estate planning is crucial. A solid estate plan ensures your family receives your assets in the manner you intend. It can also benefit you while you are still alive, in the event you experience a major illness or injury.
Avoiding common estate planning mistakes is just as important as creating a plan in the first place. Here are a few things you can do to ensure success.
Creating a living will
Living wills contain instructions on the type of medical care you wish to receive if seriously ill or injured. You can specify which treatments you want and which you do not, particularly when it comes to life-preserving treatments like CPR and mechanical ventilation. Without a living will, your family must make these very important decisions on your behalf. Not only is this difficult for them, but they may also fail to understand and implement your final wishes correctly.
Have a backup plan for executors
An executor is a person you choose to carry out the terms of your will. Being an executor entails many duties, from tracking down all the assets you own to dispersing them to your heirs. Even if you select a worthy individual to take over these responsibilities, you should still have a backup in place. This backup can step in if your original selection is unavailable when the time comes. If you do not have an executor in place at the time of your death, the court will make a selection for you.
Review your will when necessary
Creating a will is only the first step. You must also perform a thorough review whenever the need arises. This includes new marriages, divorces, the birth or adoption of a new child, and any other major life event. Without a comprehensive review, you run the risk of having an outdated will and beneficiaries in place at the time of your death.
Even if your life has not changed significantly, you should still perform a review on a regular basis. Most estate planning professionals recommend that you review all aspects of your personal estate plan once every three to five years.