Published on:

4 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

There are some common estate planning mistakes that our Palm Desert estate attorneys frequently see in our practice. Avoid these mistakes to ensure your estate plan is valid and accurately reflects your wishes.

Beneficiary Designations
Check your beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement accounts. These assets generally pass outside of a living trust through a beneficiary designation. However, if you neglect to designate a beneficiary court action may be required to transfer these assets.

Not planning for Incapacity
All estate plans have provisions outlining the administration of your estate upon your death. However, they should also contain provisions allowing for a smooth administration in the event of your incapacity. Allowing successor trustees to act when a physician makes an incapacity declaration, as well as nominating a potential conservator, are two important ways to prepare for a disability.

Out-dated documents
Your estate plan should reflect your current wishes, not your wishes from 25 years ago. Review your documents often.

Picking the wrong person as Trustee/Executor

The successor trustee of your trust (or executor if you don’t have a trust) should be financially savvy and honest. Choose this person wisely and do not be swayed by emotions alone when nominating this individual. Furthermore, have at least three persons (or entities) listed. A very unfortunate plan is one in which only one person is listed as successor trustee and this person is unable or unwilling to act when the time comes.