There are several common errors people may make in creating an estate plan. One is preparing documents incorrectly. While there are a number of do-it-yourself estate planning packages available, it is easy to make an error on these that can delay carrying out the instructions in the estate plan, make it vulnerable to legal challenges or even invalidate it.
These can be small errors in language or larger errors such as creating a trust and failing to fund it. Working with a estate law attorney may reduce the likelihood of this happening.
Another common error is failing to review and update the estate plan, particularly after a divorce. Often, people do not think to change the beneficiary designation on life insurance plans and retirement accounts, and the payment ends up going to the ex-spouse instead of the person intended.
A will or other estate planning document might conflict with existing law. For example, it is generally not possible to disinherit a spouse entirely. Usually, there is a minimum amount a spouse is supposed to receive from an estate. Over time, laws around taxes and various exemptions also may change, and estate plans need to be updated to reflect these changes.
An estate attorney in Brea might be able to assist you in choosing the right people for various roles in the estate. For example, the executor needs to be someone who is responsible and able to manage family conflict. If there is a trust, the trustee may need to be a professional because a trust may require complex financial and legal knowledge.
A Brea attorney may also help you draw up powers of attorney to appoint people to make medical and financial decisions if you become incapacitated. Without these, family members might have to go to court to get guardianship, and if the family disagrees, this could turn into an expensive legal battle.
These are only a few of the errors you might make that could jeopardize your estate plan. However, with legal guidance from an estate attorney in Brea, it might be possible to avoid these mistakes.