Mistakes to avoid in the estate planning process

Young or old, rich or poor, married or single, individuals in California and elsewhere should understand the benefits the estate planning process could have for them. One does not need to be elderly, ill, wealthy or have a large family in order to establish an estate plan. In fact, drafting an estate plan is considered a smart step and something anyone can do. Therefore, one should understand how best to complete this process, avoiding common mistakes that could harm the process.

Common mistakes

Even when there is nothing much at stake financially, passing without a will could mean having what you left behind passing to heirs you did not want them to. Thus, no matter an individual’s situation, the number one mistake one could make when it comes to estate planning is to not have an estate plan. Even when an individual has a will, it should be noted that a will alone is not an estate plan, and a will by itself may not result in the creator’s wishes being adhered to. This is why one needs to consider an estate plan as a whole, understanding the interworking of all the documents involved.

Why one needs an estate plan?

An estate plan can help align one’s goals. Because life is full of changes, one needs to be prepared for this. People get married, they get divorced, they have children, move to different states, change careers, receive inheritances and may get diagnosed with a serious illness. Because of this, this not only means memorializing one’s wishes in an estate plan, but to continually update one’s plan with each and every event that requires modification.

An estate plan also helps one locate all their assets and makes sense of them. In other words, they can fully understand and appreciate each asset and how they differentiate. This can help with the designation of assets, making it more equitable among heirs and beneficiaries.

The goal of an estate plan is to ensure one’s wishes are fulfilled at the end of his or her life. One does not need to be ultra-rich to pass down their wealth or leave their property to loved ones. If one has any financial accounts or personal property, an estate plan can serve as an instrument to dictate who gets what after one passes. Thus, if one is having difficulty drafting an estate plan, seeks to update a current plan or is attempting to enforce or challenge an estate plan of a loved one, it is important to fully understand one’s rights and options.