Having an estate plan is vital, but having a plan that covers all the right areas is even more important. There are several mistakes commonly made during the estate planning process. These can easily be avoided with the help of an experienced Houston estate planning attorney.
Here are the 6 biggest estate planning mistakes to avoid:
1. Not planning for medical care decisions: Modern-day medicine is prolonging the lives of many Americans, even during serious and debilitating illnesses or after incapacitating injuries. Any concrete estate plan should include advanced medical directives that designate a person to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to.
2. Not designating a financial decision-maker: If you are ill, injured, or otherwise incapacitated, financial decisions still must be made on your behalf. Mortgages and electric bills must be paid, medication may be needed, and many other financial issues can crop up during a short- or long-term incapacity. Power of attorney documents can allow you to designate an agent to act on your behalf in financial matters when you are unable to do so yourself.
3. Not protecting adult children’s inheritance: When adult children divorce, sometimes the inheritance you have left for them can be in jeopardy. There are tools that can help prevent this, and a Houston estate planning attorney can show you how.
4. Not planning for medical retirement: When medical issues arise that force early retirement and or necessitate assisted living, not planning ahead may leave you without the assets to afford it. This may mean self-insurance, structuring your affairs so that you qualify for Medicaid, or obtaining private long-term care insurance. Talk to a Houston estate planning attorney about which of these options is right for you.
5. Not planning for the distribution of personal property: Most issues that crop up during the probate process are not about money or real estate, but the personal belongings of the deceased. Include in your estate plan the distribution of your favorite possessions and personal property to avoid this fight for your loved ones.
6. Not leaving your estate plan where it can be found: One of the most common problems loved ones have are finding the necessary documents to follow your wishes if you are incapacitated or deceased. Make sure your loved ones know exactly where to find your estate plan and all the documents related to it.
If you need help coming up with an estate plan to meet your needs, contact an Houston estate planning attorneys today for assistance.