Updating your estate plan is a serious task that requires careful consideration and the guidance of a professional. However, it’s all too easy to make mistakes and approach this process in the wrong way. Promise Law is here to help out Virginia residents with reliable, professional guidance and advice. Let’s begin by discussing five mistakes you don’t want to make.
1. Doing It on Your Own
Making changes without consulting a lawyer or financial advisor is one mistake you definitely don’t want to make. It may seem easier and more convenient to simply make updates on your own, but it’s important to have a professional review and advise you on the legal and financial implications of your decisions. Without their expertise, you may end up making mistakes or leaving out important details that could cause problems for your loved ones down the road. Mistakes can lead to heirs contesting parts of your left behind legal documents in a Virginia court, which can not only get hurtful and messy but can also tie up your assets and keep them from your family members for a long time.
2. Misunderstanding Your Changes
Making changes to any part of your estate plan without fully understanding what you’re doing can be detrimental to you and your loved ones or intended beneficiaries. For example, if you decide to add a new beneficiary to your will or by beneficiary designation without fully understanding the tax implications, you could end up causing financial hardship for that person. Similarly, if you make changes to your power of attorney or healthcare proxy without fully understanding the responsibilities and duties involved, you could end up causing problems for your loved ones if you become incapacitated.
3. Being Hasty to Make Changes
Your estate plan should be a well-thought-out and carefully considered set of documents that reflect your long-term wishes and goals. Changing it every time you have a disagreement with a family member or experience a minor financial setback can create confusion and chaos for your loved ones. While it’s understandable and normal for plans to change, your estate plan shouldn’t change on a whim or based on a temporary circumstance. Promise Law offers a maintenance program and our members can check in when questions arise. So, rather than being reactionary they can get context and guidance before acting.
4. Neglecting to Update Anything
It’s easy to put off this task, especially if you’re busy or don’t think you have many assets to leave behind. However, everyone can benefit from having an estate plan, regardless of their wealth or age. By neglecting to update your estate plan, you risk leaving your loved ones in a difficult position if something were to happen to you. Also, things change. For you, the beneficiaries, and the things that you own. A review is key for making sure everything you have is working in concert toward your goals.
5. Misplacing Documents
Location, location, location! It may seem like the least important out of all the topics we’ve covered, but an estate plan is not doing anyone any favors if it can’t be found. It’s important to store your estate plan documents in a secure, yet accessible location. Otherwise, your loved ones may have a difficult time finding them when they are needed. These days, most people keep things in secure digital files, as well as in written form. If you utilize a secure platform to store important documents like your estate plan, or if you have digital copies on a laptop or PC, make sure your usernames and passwords are accessible for your loved ones to retrieve this information.
Updating your estate plan is a serious task that requires careful consideration and Promise Law is here to help you create a plan that works for you. By avoiding the wrong ways to update your estate plan, we can help ensure that your assets and loved ones are taken care of after your passing. To get started, take advantage of our free estate planning workshop. When you do, you will get a complimentary one-on-one with an attorney. Contact us today to get started.