A surprising number of people in the United States do not have wills. Without a well-developed estate plan, individuals and business owners in New York are allowing their money and property to be handled by anyone when they die. Here are several common mistakes to avoid during the estate planning process.
Planning at the last minute
Many people do not consider estate planning until it’s too late. They may wait until someone has died or is about to die and then realize that they have no will or power of attorney. Mistakes or choices with unintended consequences are more likely to occur when planning is done at the last minute. Ideally, planning your estate should start decades before your death and be updated every few years.
Not discussing your plan with others
Estate planning cannot be a solely private affair. You have to choose an executor and one or more beneficiaries of your will. You’ll have to contact the family and friends who will be vital parts of your plan.
Naming a sole beneficiary
You can name anyone to be your beneficiary. Some people believe that only a spouse or immediate family member can be named, but in addition to immediate family members, a friend, distant relative, family physician or business partner can be included.
Forgetting to create the power of attorney
Many estate planners forget to create the power of attorney, the written authorization that allows a person to act on the behalf of another. People often don’t consider this document until the person becomes sick and incapacitated.
Planning ahead is key
There are a lot of misconceptions that people have about estate planning. You can avoid making mistakes by becoming more familiar with the process of planning an estate.