If you have not done your share of research, you may adopt an overly simplistic point of view when it comes to estate planning. You may assume that you could simply draw up a quick last will late in your life, and you will be good to go.
This is one very common mistake that people make, and it can yield unintended negative consequences on a number of different levels. First of all, what if you become incapacitated before you can actually execute your will? What if you pass away unexpectedly in an accident?
If you die without any estate planning documents, you would die intestate, and the state would distribute your assets using the intestate succession laws of the state of North Dakota. Your own true wishes may never be honored.
Plus, there are limitations and drawbacks that can enter the picture when you use a last will as your asset transfer vehicle. One of them is the fact that you would be leaving lump sum inheritances to your loved ones. If you have someone who is not a good money manager on your inheritance list, the outcome may be less than ideal in the long run.
The matter of probate is another thing to take into consideration. An estate must pass through the legal process of probate when a will is used, and this process can be time-consuming and expensive.
DIY Estate Planning
There are websites that sell boilerplate legal documents, including estate planning devices. People sometimes buy into these so-called solutions, and in the end, their family members pay a price, because mistakes are made.
Legal professors who examined last wills using DIY last wills that were created using tools that are offered by three leading legal document purveyors found significant flaws. The entity that engaged the professors, Consumer Reports, advised readers against do-it-yourself estate planning.
Overlooking Possible Incapacity
Another estate planning error that is often made is the failure to address possible latter life incapacity. Many elders become unable to handle their own affairs during the end of their lives. If you do nothing to prepare for this contingency, the state could appoint someone to act on your behalf.
Ultimately, family members may not agree with the decisions of the court, and the person who is selected to act for you may not be someone that you would have chosen yourself when you were capable of communicating sound decisions.
To prevent these difficulties, you could name your own hand-picked decision-makers through the execution of durable powers of attorney.
Our Firm Can Help
In this brief blog post we have looked at a handful of the estate planning mistakes that are often made, but are many others. If you would like to create an ironclad, error-free estate plan, our firm can help. We offer free consultations, you can contact us through this page to set up an appointment: Grand Forks ND Estate Planning Attorneys.