Work With An Estate Planning Attorney In Order To Avoid Mistakes

Estate planning is such an utterly crucial part of getting older. If you try to sail those seas on your own, though, the waters can be fraught with peril.

A top rated estate planning attorney can keep from making some of these mistakes. Here are the potential gaffes, and how the lawyer can assist you.

  1. Your attorney should encourage you to update the plan

estate planning documents

Any change in the family — a birth, a death, a marriage, a divorce — should trigger an update of the estate plan. Changes in the family might also mean a move from one city to another (or one state to another), a significant change in financial situation, a retirement, a change of career, or any big life alterations.

You need to keep your estate plan updated, and this process of updating needs to be an ongoing concern. Your attorney will help you stay on top of that process.

  1. Your attorney should work with you on powers of attorney

There are two main ones you need. One is the advance medical directive for your health, also known as a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and the other is the power of attorney for your financial matters, also known as a Durable Power of Attorney. There is a greater chance of you becoming injured and incapacitated and needing these powers of attorney than the chance of you dying.

  1. You need to point the retirement plans toward the correct trust

It may make sense to name one of your trusts as the beneficiary of your IRA or other retirement plan. If you name the wrong TYPE of trust as this beneficiary, though, you could incur unnecessary taxes. Your trust needs to be a see-through trust. An attorney can help you with this important but often overlooked detail.

  1. You need to fund the living trust

A living trust is also known as a revocable trust. Using these trusts help in the event of you becoming disabled or incapacitated. They help you avoid probate. However, you need to fund this living trust. That is, you need to transfer the legal titles on your assets to the name of this living trust. Many people forget to do this, and it means they will not avoid probate as they intended. They wasted their time drafting the living trust if they do not transfer assets into this new living trust.

  1. You need to make sure the assets are in the correct names

There may be some assets you list in your name, and others you list jointly with your spouse. Others still may be listed as belonging to your trust, or your living trust.

You should review these, and make sure these designations all make sense. You could be making things more complicated than you intended, and you might benefit from having different owners listed.

  1. Your attorney will not let you bequeath an asset to someone who is already dead

This happens often. Some life insurance policies or retirement accounts may be quite old. When you first opened them, you may have still been unmarried. Frequently, young people will designate siblings or their parents as beneficiaries. And then, when those young people become older people, those named beneficiaries may pass away, or relationships change.

If you are divorced, chances are high that you have an account for which the beneficiary listed is your ex-spouse. A smart estate planning attorney can go through your assets and make sure you do not make this mistake.

For Estate Planning assistance in the Cincinnati area, trust the legal professionals at Donnellon, Donnellon and Miller.