4 Estate Planning Mistakes Everyone Makes and How to Avoid Them
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

4 Estate Planning Mistakes Everyone Makes and How to Avoid Them

Facing your mortality may not be the most exciting thing on your to-do list. However, it is an important and necessary part of planning for the future of your family.

It’s important to think about what would, and should, happen in the event of your death or incapacitation.

Who would make decisions for you?

Who would take care of your children and/or pets?

What would happen to your estate?

Here’s what you should know about the 4 biggest estate planning mistakes some people make and how you can avoid them:

Avoiding the Conversation

One of the biggest estate planning mistakes anyone can make is not planning your estate. Considering what would or should happen when we die is never a fun conversation, but it’s a conversation all of us should have.

Estate planning allows grieving families to do just that – grieve the loss of a loved one. Your estate plan will speak for you in the event of your death or incapacitation. This takes the burden of making difficult decisions off the shoulders of surviving family members.

Failing to designate someone to handle your estate or make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated could mean the state will decide what happens with your estate and who gets what. A legal professional can help you avoid common estate planning mistakes and protect the future of your estate and loved ones.

We often hear of families that have failed to document how inheritance should be distributed to adult children. Most parents don’t want their 18-year-old child to receive it in one lump sum and instead choose a more conservative option of disbursing it over time. Avoid this simple estate planning mistakes by having the conversation ahead of time on how these funds should be distributed.

One and Done

Another common estate planning mistake people make is thinking that once they’ve done it, they’ll never have to do it again. It’s important to periodically update your estate plan. Situations and circumstances may change over the years, and you should update your estate plan accordingly.

Welcoming a new child, a divorce or remarriage, even purchasing a new asset such as a second home can all be reasons for revisiting your estate plan and making the necessary updates.

Planning for the Unexpected

An estate plan covers much more than what happens to your assets when you pass away. Your estate plan should include a medical power of attorney. A medical power of attorney will specifically designate someone to make decisions if you are disabled or incapacitated.

Our clients often want to know that their wishes will be carried out in the event they are no longer able to make decisions so having these protections in place is critical for a proper estate plan.

Forgetting Digital Assets

Your estate includes more than your physical property. In this day and age of technology, it’s important to remember your digital assets as well. Among the biggest estate planning mistakes people make is forgetting to include digital assets. It’s important to think about cloud-based and online accounts as you plan your estate.

This can include:

  • Cloud-based bank accounts
  • Digital copies of any important documents you may have stored in your cloud or computer
  • Email accounts
  • Passwords
  • Social media accounts

How to Avoid Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate planning is a complicated process. A surefire way to avoid estate planning mistakes is to work with an Arizona legal professional. At Ogborne Law, we can help you minimize risks when planning your estate. We can help you create a customized estate plan that fits your specific needs.

We understand your circumstances and wishes may change over time. Our team is here to help you keep your estate plans up-to-date and in line with your wishes. Contact us if you have questions or are ready to get started.