Estate planning can be a touchy subject, especially for Californians who are not ready to think about what will happen to their possessions when they die. However, San Jose residents can help themselves and their families by taking some basic estate planning steps to prepare for the future and the unknown. This post will discuss some of the major mistakes that individuals make when considering their estate plans, and how readers can work to avoid them. However, all readers should consider the contents of this post informational and not legal advice. Specific legal guidance on estate planning matters can be sought from trusted local estate planning and administration lawyers.
Mistake #1: Not having an estate plan
The biggest estate planning mistake a person can make is simply not having one. There are many reasons that individuals choose not to create estate plans, from believing it will be a complicated process to simply not wanting to address otherwise uncomfortable issues. However, life is full of uncertainty and even healthy young individuals can face dire emergencies and unexpected events that can put their futures into question. There is never a better time than the present to begin the estate planning process and taking control of one’s future.
Mistake #2: Not changing an estate plan
As mentioned, life is full of under certainties. Often, individuals fall in love and get married, only to end up divorcing their spouses years later. If an individual created an estate plan and included their ex-spouse as a beneficiary, they should go back and change their estate plan if they no longer want that individual to receive an inheritance or bequest from their estate.
Marriages and deaths are not the only events that may prompt changes to an existing estate plan. The births and deaths of children, adoptions, and other events may cause individuals to rethink how they have their estate plans organized. Trusted estate planning lawyers can help individuals work through their existing estate plans to update them to meet their present expectations.
Mistake #3: Not considering the financial impact of the estate tax
Not every estate will be subject to the federal estate tax. From year to year, the estate tax threshold can change and individuals of considerable wealth should be aware of where that threshold stands. For some, reducing the sizes of their estates can be an important estate planning matter so that they are not leader divested of wealth when their estates are taxed.
Estate planning does not have to be difficult. Individuals do not have to tackle it on their own. They can benefit from seeking the counsel and recommendations of estate planning lawyers in their communities. Attorneys who work in this field of law understand the many factors that can alter how individuals prepare their estate plans and counsel their clients on how best to serve their individual interests.