Avoid These Common Estate Planning Mistakes
You no doubt want to have a rock-solid plan set up to protect your legacy and ensure your hard-earned assets go to your most cherished loved ones.
Thinking That a Last Will and Testament Covers All Your BasesIt is certainly true that a Will is one of the most important document for most estates, since it clarifies which assets are in your estate, who will get what and how, and who will be entrusted to serve as personal representative/executor to carry out and oversee these duties.
However, a Will alone may not necessarily be the best possible choice for your estate or for your beneficiaries. Wills must be filed in the court records and must go through the public process of probate, a court-supervised administration of your estate. For those who wish to keep these matters private, or who want to spare their heirs from the time and expense of probate, limiting your estate plan to just a Will is suboptimal.
Rather, you should consider other important but comparatively lesser known estate planning documents, namely a Florida Revocable Trust. This versatile legal instrument allows you to keep certain assets out of probate, since they can be titled to the name of the trust, and it also does not need to be recorded in the public records, therefore protecting your privacy and those of your beneficiaries.
Believing All Your Assets Can Be Bequeathed Via a Will or TrustEven the most comprehensive estate plan cannot cover every possible type of asset. Retirement accounts and insurance policies are governed by their respective beneficiary forms, which are typically filled out when you first open the account or obtain the policy. As such, these assets do not flow through either your Will or your Trust and instead will go directly to whoever you designated in those forms. Given that you may have filled these forms out some time ago, it is a good idea to look them over to ensure that you still want to retain the same beneficiary. This is especially important if you have since had a divorce and/or more children.
Relying on *Do It Yourself* Estate PlanningIn this day and age, just about everything can be done on your own through various programs and standard forms that ostensibly seek to cut out the costly professional middlemen. Yet as tempting as it may be to save some money and handle this very personal matter on your own terms, something as complex and consequential as an estate plan should be tailor made to suit your particular needs and circumstances.
Furthermore, estate plans and the documents therein must meet very exact legal standards to be both valid and effective. The complexities and ever-changing nature of estate planning makes it unlikely that the average person, no matter how savvy, will be able to craft the best possible estate plan on their own. Legal expertise exists for a reason: like accountants, doctors, and other professionals, we are trained and experienced specifically to handle matters you simply do not have the time or expertise to deal with optimally on your own. The sheer amount of legal disputes that emerge from ambiguities or errors in an estate plan testify to the far bigger savings you (and your beneficiaries) will get from hiring professionals like ourselves.
Seek Professional Legal Advice from Jurado & FarshchianBelieve it or not, the above-mentioned mistakes are just the tip of the iceberg. As trusted estate planning specialists, we have seen it all and know what to avoid. No estate is too big or complex for our team to handle. Not only do we exercise the utmost prudence and attention to detail when it comes to drafting an estate plan, but we make it a point to work closely with our clients to ensure that their precise needs and goals are met.