Sutton Sachs Meyer

Skilled Attorneys, Trusted Advisers

Top 5 Estate Planning Mistakes

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2018 | Firm News

Whether you are young or old, having an estate plan can help ensure that your family is not left unprepared and that your assets aren’t handed off to someone you never intended to have receive them. The right estate plan will cover an array of important aspects in the case of your death or an illness that renders you incapable of handling your own affairs. Creating an estate plan will provide you with peace of mind, knowing that everything is in order and that your loved ones will be left with everything they need.

However, not all estate plans are alike and there are many pitfalls to avoid when planning for the future. If you are looking into estate planning, make sure that you avoid the following five mistakes and reach out to speak with a NYC estate planning lawyer from our firm today about ensuring your family’s future is secure.

#1: Procrastinating And Delaying The Process

Let’s face it, no one wants to think about their own mortality. You might be looking at your future and you see many years of good health ahead. Death might seem like a faraway reality, one that you will face when the time gets closer. However, no matter what your age is or how great your current health is, you cannot know when your time will come. The reality is that we will all die and the sooner you can face this fact, the better prepared you can be for what happens when you leave the earth.

If you are have been procrastinating your estate planning due to your good health, your age, or because you feel overwhelmed by the idea of planning for what happens after your death, there is no time like today to start thinking about this aspect of your family’s future. Remember, estate planning is all about ensuring that your assets are handled the way you wish. When you actually sit down and plan this all out, you can find the process empowering. You will be able to decide exactly how things are handled and who specifically will receive the exact aspects of your estate that you wish them to. Instead of looking at this as resigning yourself to your impending death, think of it instead as organizing everything to ensure your family is left in the best position possible. Whether you go on to live decades more of life or not, having this peace of mind can free you up to enjoy the life you have to live. Nothing is worse than putting off estate planning until it is too late.

#2: Receiving An Estate Plan That Isn’t Personalized

Another big mistake that can be made in regards to estate planning is receiving a plan that is not personalized to your needs. Not all estate planning lawyers are alike and some will simply take your name and throw it into an existing plan. This might provide you with some legal documentation, but it won’t provide you with the detailed approach you need to create a successful plan. A good estate planning lawyer should take the time necessary to design a super specific plan for you. It should involve all the necessary documents, as well as provide you with insight into the “what ifs”.

When you choose an estate planning lawyer, find out what approach they take to the process. It should involve taking time to get to know you and to learn in detail about what you want to have happen to your assets, as well as your own healthcare. They should spend plenty of time working with you on the details of your plan. They should also provide you with insight into issues that might arise that you never thought about. It should be far more than a quick process of throwing your name into a document.

#3: Not Creating A Detailed Inventory

Most of the time, we underestimate how much we know about our own life that other people won’t instinctively know. If you don’t create a detailed inventory of all of your assets, as well as a detailed description of where you keep every important document, it could leave your family or friends scrambling to find important information. Just because you think your filing system is easy to understand doesn’t mean it will be.

Take every precaution and constantly update your documentation on where you keep everything important stored and how your family should go about accessing things in the case of your passing. From online accounts to physical documents, leave detailed notes on how everything is stored and how to gain access to everything.

#4: Not Deciding On Medical Care

While estate planning often makes us think about our physical assets, there is so much more to estate planning than just your belongings. A good plan should also include detailed information about how to handle your medical care near the end of your life. This plan should outline a power of attorney who is put in charge of making decisions regarding your health should you be incapable of doing so. While it isn’t pleasant to imagine a time in which you no longer have the ability to make decisions for yourself, the reality is that it could easily happen to any of us. It will be important to have documentation supporting the decisions you want to be made.

Work with an estate planning lawyer who will include your medical care in the planning process. Take the time to think about how you want things handled and make sure you answer all the “what ifs.” There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to end of life care, so be sure you request exactly what you want.

#5: Letting Your Plan Get Outdated

Once you have created an estate plan, your work isn’t over. Estate plans need to be updated as time goes on. Something you drafted with a lawyer 15 years ago won’t necessarily offer you the protection you need for your future. With the passing of time, things change, your assets change, and how you want your medical care to be handled might look different. Make sure that you review your estate plan with a qualified lawyer every few years. This will ensure your plan is updated with the appropriate information and that any missing gaps are caught.

Not only should you periodically look over your estate plan, but you should have it reviewed any time you have a major change in your life. For example, if you drafted your estate plan prior to a divorce, it will be necessary to revisit the entire plan.

Contact Our Law Office For Help

If you are interested in creating an estate plan, contact our team for help. We are trusted NYC estate planning lawyers with years of experience helping our clients put together the right plan for their needs. We never take a one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. Instead, we treat each situation with an extreme attention to detail so that your request can be honored in the precise way you want. Whether you are creating your first estate plan or revising an existing plan, we will work with you to ensure you have all the documentation you need in order so that you can rest assured that your loved ones will be taken care of down the road. Reach out today to learn more and for a free consultation.