The Most Dangerous Estate Planning Traps

The oversights — those are what’ll “get ya.”

We recently came across an opinion piece written by a wealth management professional in Florida, recounting some of the more frequent mistakes she’s seen her clients make in their estate plans. Sure enough, they look pretty familiar.

Time and again, people who decide to “go it alone” while drafting an estate plan make critical mistakes that end up creating an enormous mess years later. These same costly errors crop up every year, with a whole new round of estate planners snared by the very same oversights that are still haunting the generation before them.

The problem is that you can’t learn from others’ mistakes if you don’t know what they are. That’s why it’s such a good idea to work with experienced Hopewell Valley estate planning attorneys. After enough years in the business, we’ve seen it all (or close to it), so we know how to hedge against unforeseen contingencies in the future.

But the Florida op/ed provides a nice overview of some of the more common blunders that we see here in New Jersey, so we thought we’d share a few below:

  • Failing to account for jurisdictional differences when you move from one state to the next
  • Assuming that your parents will never divorce, widow, or remarry
  • Not making plans for sudden incapacity (accidents can happen at any age!)
  • Assuming that the average lifespan won’t change (people are living longer than ever today!)
  • Making poor choices when designating an executor, guardian, or power of attorney
  • Assuming that all of your assets are covered by the general language in your trusts or will
  • Failure to appraise non-marketable assets
  • Using outdated state forms
  • Using contradictory, invalid, or incompatible documents
  • Failing to address digital assets
  • Neglecting to update an estate plan over time
  • Failure to anticipate the possibility that a beneficiary or designee might pre-decease you

These are just a few of the many common oversights that sting well-meaning estate planners every day. You can avoid them, though!

No one is able to see the future, but an experienced professional can help you create a flexible plan that’s ready for whatever comes its way. Contact Medina Law Group today to learn more about taking your next steps.