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Torrance Estate Planning & Probate > Blog > Wills > Don’t Make These Estate Planning Mistakes

Don’t Make These Estate Planning Mistakes


When you do your estate plan, you may think it’s a relatively easy process—after all, all you do is take all your stuff, and write down who you want it to go to, rights? Well, actually, despite the fact that this is, at the core, what estate planning is, there are actually a lot of things that can and do go wrong when it comes to state planning.

Here are some common mistakes when planning an estate—with the caveat that most of these mistakes rarely or ever happen, if you have a qualified estate or probate law attorney with you.

Forgetting Assets – Sure, the major things, like houses, cars, collections or bank accounts, are rarely forgotten in an estate plan. But often, we forget about other things. That can include digital assets, rights to intellectual property, investments, or retirement accounts. It’s often the assets we don’t use or touch every day that most often get accidentally left out of an estate plan.

Forgetting Details – What if you leave “your business” to someone, but you have multiple businesses? What if you leave your business to “your brother,” but you have a brother, brother in law, and step brother? These are the seemingly minor details that can cause problems in an estate plan.

Not Funding Trusts – Let’s say you leave a pet to someone in a trust. Have you also left money to care for that pet? What if you leave a home to someone to live in, as part of the condition of a trust. Have you left money in the trust to pay for the expenses related to that home? Leaving an asset to someone is great—but not if you haven’t also left the money needed to preserve and care for that asset.

Providing Passwords and Other Information – Sure you may leave an insurance policy, a retirement account or other information to people. But do they know how to access that information? Do they know what the passwords are, or where they call to get information on those assets? This is information you don’t have to provide now to anybody, but which can be left as part of your estate plan.

Not Talking to Family – We’re talking specifically about family that may be left out of a will, or who may be left less than what they think they should be left. Sometimes, good communication can go a long way to avoiding an estate fight later on, when omitted relatives don’t understand why they aren’t getting as much as others are getting. Don’t just assume your heirs will amicably figure things out amongst themselves.

Out of State Property – Often, we need to account for other state laws, when dealing with property that is left out of state. When you don’t do that, problems can arise.

Death – We’re not talking about you—we’re talking about what happens if your chosen trustee, or your beneficiaries, predecease you? Does your estate plan have contingencies that say what happens if someone dies before you do?

Call the Torrance will and estate attorneys at Samuel Ford Law today to make sure you avoid these–and any other–estate planning errors.




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