There are a number of ways to create an effective estate plan. Unfortunately, there are just any many mistakes that can be made that leave estates susceptible to improper or unwanted distribution. Avoiding these common mistakes takes diligence, but it is something that most individuals can achieve with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.
The biggest mistake, of course, is failing to create an estate plan at all. This can cause an estate to be subjected to the state's intestate succession laws, which means that his or her assets may pass in a fashion that is contrary to his or her wishes. Many people fail to realize that estate planning also includes planning for one's incapacitation so that, in the event that tragedy strikes, one's health and financial interests are protected.
Another common estate planning mistake is failing to update beneficiary designations and an estate plan as a whole when warranted. Generally speaking, major life events like marriages, divorces, and births can change the way one wants his or her assets to pass down. However, these changes can only be effectuated by modifying an estate plan.
Mistakes are often made with how estate plans deal with children. In many instances assets are left directly to minor children, but since they are not old enough to legally control those assets a guardian must be put in place. This lengthy and sometimes costly process can be avoided by naming a trustee or custodial in estate planning documents.
These are just a few of the many estate planning mistakes that are made on a daily basis in California. Even though estate planning may seem pretty simple, achieving the desired outcome requires a thorough and holistic approach that takes the unexpected into account. Californians who think they could benefit from assistance with this process can turn to a qualified legal professional.