How Can I Avoid Common Estate Planning Mistakes?

Estate planning in Oregon is a must to ensure your assets are handled correctly when you die. It’s just as important to steer clear of common estate planning mistakes, as some errors could land you in probate court. U.S. News & World Report offers the following advice on avoiding these mistakes, so you can create a solid and legally binding estate plan.

Forgetting to Fund Your Trust

Trusts are an effective estate planning tool, provided they’re used correctly. After setting up your trust and naming a successor, you’ll need to transfer property and assets into the fund’s name. In some cases, this entails changing deeds and titles to show ownership by the trust. If you miss this crucial step the court will decide how these assets are divided, which is both time-consuming and expensive.

Not Updating Your Estate Plan

It’s likely that your wishes for your estate will change over time. Most attorneys recommend reviewing documents every three years or after any significant life events, such as a new marriage or divorce. You want to ensure your estate is going to the right people, or you risk putting your loved ones through a contentious court battle. Make sure you also update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies, as this information overrides any directives included in a will or trust.

Waiting Too Long

Estate plans are not just for your assets, they can also provide essential information on end-of-life medical treatment and procedures. A living will details what type of care you should receive in the event you’re incapacitated. There are also healthcare proxies, which specify a person to make decisions on your behalf. It can be heartbreaking for families to make these choices on their own, especially if they’re unaware of what their loved one truly wants.