The estate planning process is complex. The forms, the legal documents, the terminology – it’s all enough to make a person’s head spin.
It’s no surprise then that Illinois residents frequently make mistakes when planning their estate. Unfortunately, such oversights often equal a huge headache for surviving relatives and family members: additional legal help may be needed to resolve the problem, inheritances may be lost, and settling the estate may take significantly longer.
Here are three common estate planning mistakes to avoid.
Not updating your plan
Our lives are subject to change; we get married, have children, and get divorced. Our estate plans need to reflect these changes.
Failing to update your estate could have serious consequences, loved ones could lose out on their inheritance and documents may be voided.
If you even suspect a life-changing event could have estate planning implications, it’s important to notify your attorney of the change right away.
Yes. You may have to pay Uncle Sam even after you die, which means tax implications should not be ignored while planning your estate.
Perhaps no tax bugaboo causes more consternation than the Estate Tax. If the deceased leaves behind a large estate, the government may try to recoup a significant part of it before the heirs even get to see the money.
An estate planning attorney can help you avoid the estate tax, and other tax obstacles, with innovative tax avoidance strategies.
Not funding your trust
It’s great to have all necessary documents all set and ready to go, but if your trust isn’t funded you could be leaving your next of kin to pick up the cost in probate. Always, always, always, make sure your trust is funded.
The law governing trusts and estates is notoriously slippery. Even if you’re familiar with the process, professional help should always be sought when planning your estate.
An experienced estate planning lawyer can tailor an approach around your unique objectives. Furthermore, they understand the subtleties of the law and can identify issues before they arise.