Having an estate plan is not enough. For an estate plan to actually work, it needs to be done properly and thoughtfully. However, many people make common estate planning errors that could seriously jeopardize what happens with that person’s estate.

1. Failing To Update A Will

One of the biggest mistakes someone can make is finalizing an estate plan, putting it away and simply forgetting about it. The directions and instructions included in a will only take a snapshot of where the testator’s life is at that moment. It does not change as the testator’s life changes.

For instance, the person creating the will may be married with no children at the time the will is created. However, he or she could then go through a divorce, remarry and have children.

Complications arise when the testator does not update his or her will after these major life changes happen. The State of Georgia has written a will for you, and if you fail to properly update your will after marriage, divorce or having children your current will could be invalid and your estate will be disbursed according to what the State of Georgia has decided for you.

It is for this reason that it is recommended that testators regularly review the information in their will documents, every two years or at least after every major life change. Failing to do this could end up being disastrous for the family of the deceased later on down the road.

2. Selecting The Wrong Person To Handle The Estate

One of the biggest decisions an individual has to make when preparing his or her estate plan is deciding who will be the executor. The Executor is the person in charge of handling the testator’s affairs once he or she has passed away.

Many individuals believe that their spouse or children are the best choices for this position, but that may not be the case. This position requires someone who is comfortable handling finances and making tough decisions.

This person may also have to mediate disputes between creditors, loved ones who disagree and many other problems that may present themselves. It needs to be someone who has strong decision-making skills and can handle these matters objectively. Not making the right selection for who will be the Executor can make life much more complicated for loved ones.

3. Only Having A Will

Many individuals also operate under the misconception that having a Last Will and Testament is all that is needed for a complete estate plan. That could not be any further from the truth.

A good estate plan includes not only a will, but also a financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney and a directive on end of life wishes. These documents are needed as the individual ages and loses the ability to make informed decisions on his or her own behalf.

If the individual does not have these documents, it leaves their loved ones with no choice but to seek court involvement to get guardianship to be able to make these decisions on their loved one’s behalf. That option can be costly, time consuming and stressful for all involved. It is best to have these documents prepared upfront.

4. Waiting Too Long

Another monumental mistake someone can make with preparing an estate plan is waiting too long. It is easy to keep the item on the “to-do” list and pushing it off for another day. No one really wants to think about his or her own death, but putting it off only delays the inevitable.

What happens if someone puts it off for too long? The person could get into a serious car accident the next day, and suddenly it is too late, and now the person’s loved ones have to handle the estate without a will. This process can be complicated, costly, and stressful. It pays to plan ahead and to not put it off for “another day.”

Contact Brian M. Douglas, LLC Today

If you are not sure you need an estate planning attorney, you can always come in for a meeting to discuss your situation. Call us today at (770) 933-9009 to schedule your consultation with a Greater Atlanta area probate lawyer today.