A solid estate plan ensures your assets and property are dispersed according to your final wishes. While having a plan in place is the first step, you also want to make sure your will and trust documents are free of common errors and mistakes. Forbes offers the following advice to estate planners concerned about what might happen after they’re gone.
One of the more important aspects of estate planning is establishing a power of attorney. This is a person that will make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated by illness or injury. Most people choose one power of attorney to deal with medical decisions, while another person will be responsible for making financial ones. If you haven’t made a selection yet, it’s best to do so as soon as possible.
Next, you want to ensure that your plan matches all other documents. When it comes to retirement savings accounts and life insurance policies, the beneficiary designations on these documents must match your estate plan. If they don’t, the court will defer to the information on the accounts themselves, even if your estate plan says others. Beneficiary designations can easily become obsolete, especially when you opened accounts many years before.
Your entire estate plan will also need to be updated from time to time. For example, if you’ve recently married or gotten divorced, you want to look over wills and trusts to see if any changes need to be made. Even if it’s been a few years since you reviewed your plan, now might be a good time to do so. If you have questions, be sure to consult with a skilled attorney.