Virtually all people require a good estate plan. A solid estate plan helps ensure your family is cared for, even after you are gone.
It is essential for most people to have a plan in place, but it is equally important to avoid common estate planning mistakes. One error or oversight can cause delays, arguments, and confusion, so here are a few ways to avoid possible issues.
Talk to heirs about your plan
Some family members can contest even a solid and properly crafted estate plan. You can attempt to prevent some strife by speaking with your heirs while you are still alive to explain your estate planning decisions. If you discuss the reasoning behind your decisions, your heirs may be more understanding of them.
Choose a reliable executor
The executor of your will must carry out many important duties. The person must file documents, pay debts, and finally disperse the money to heirs. Because the job is so important, it is wise to choose someone you trust who exhibits fiscal responsibility in their lives; these persons are usually equally responsible when handling your money. They should also have the time and energy to devote to the process so your heirs will receive their inheritance in an efficient manner.
Update your estate plan as needed
Your estate plan should change right along with your life. For example, a new marriage calls for a review of estate planning documents to ensure they suit your family situation. A significant change in your finances also requires a review, as does the birth or adoption of a child. Reviews are also recommended when you move from one state to another, as laws may vary in your new home.
Even if you experience no major life events, you should still engage in a periodic review of all estate planning documents. Once every five years is usually sufficient to ensure your plan remains appropriate to your situation.