Estate Planning Mistakes and Issues
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

8 Common Estate Planning Mistakes & Issues

When it comes to estate planning, there is no “one size fits all” solution. It’s a combination of science, knowing what works in general, and art, knowing what will work best for your family. The best solution is to hire an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the law.

According to Forbes, there are five key documents your estate plan must include:

  • Will
  • Living Trust
  • Advanced Healthcare Directive
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • HIPAA Release Form

What if you have unique circumstances? It happens; every day, in fact. Here are four issues you might have come up in your estate planning.

  1. Clearly Defined Beneficiaries

Are you in the “sandwich generation,” with both children and parents in your care? Even if your parents aren’t in your home, you may be responsible for their long-term care.

Meaning, if you die before they do, then they need to be taken into consideration. Therefore, your beneficiaries may extend beyond your spouse and children to include parents, grandchildren, or even siblings, depending on your situation.

  1. Second (and Third or Fourth!) Marriages

Do you have children from a previous marriage? Is yours a blended family with multiple children and parents? All of these moving components can delay your estate plan.

Both you and your spouse will have your own assets you’ve already reserved for older children. You’ll also have to consider any children you have together. A trust is a good solution, but it should be crystal clear as to who gets what and when.

  1. Guardianship of Minor Children

Have you divorced and the parent of children shared with your ex? Typically speaking, if you predecease your ex, your children will be in their guardianship.

That also generally means that the surviving parent will be in charge of the inheritance you leave for your children. If that’s not what you’d like to have happen, then you’ll need to make accommodations in your estate plan.

  1. Digital Property

Truthfully, this is nothing we thought of 10 years ago, but it’s certainly a consideration in today’s digital world. Who has access to your computer? Who will close your social media accounts? Our lives are online, and you need to designate a plan to manage your online persona after your passing.

  1. Not Expecting A Beneficiary to Die

If one of your beneficiaries dies, who gets the money they were supposed to get? Kiplinger says you should “leave your assets to “all lawful children equally – Per Stirpes“.

  1. Ownership Imbalances 

If your spouse has a lot of taxes in their name it could increase or accelerate some taxes. Shifting the investment accounts or the house to the other spouse equalizes the estate and reduces the chance of owing taxes to the government after the first spouse passes away.

  1. Not Including a Residuary Clause 

Without a residuary clause, a probate court can distribute your unclaimed property or assets as if there were no will in place or as per state intestacy laws.

  1. Not Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

Everyone will eventually pass away. Make sure you plan properly. Hiring an estate planning attorney is much cheaper than litigating in court. Save your beneficiaries the trouble of having to fight for what’s rightfully theirs by hiring an estate planning attorney.

According to Orlowsky&Wilson, “The best way to control legal fees is to incur them while you are alive and able to oversee the planning process. Failure to plan is likely to increase the total amount of fees paid. Especially if family members decide that fighting is the best way to resolve disputes after you’re gone.”

Estate Planning Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona

Here at Ogborne Law, we are proud to include estate planning among our services. Your estate planning attorney will work closely with you to draw up all the documents you’ll need to communicate your wishes to the court. We’ll take the time to answer all of your questions and guide you through this important process. If you’re ready to start your consultation with Ogborne Law, visit our Estate Planning Consultation request page.

There are so many aspects to consider in estate planning, and we haven’t even touched on those individuals who own a business!

You’ve worked hard for your life, and you need to protect it. You owe it to your family and your legacy to take care of planning now.

Contact Ogborne Law to schedule your estate-planning session.