On November 5, 2015

The right estate plan can preserve your wishes for the future while protecting your loved ones’ interests and possibly even minimizing the need for probate.

Of course, the “right” estate plan can vary from situation to situation, depending on the details of an estate (among other things). That being stated, however, the following are among the more common estate planning mistakes that tend to impact the efficacy and protections of these plans.

Don’t Make these Estate Planning Mistakes

  1. Avoiding these estate planning mistakes can help you preserve your interests while protecting your loved ones in the future, a Denver estate attorney explains. Here’s why.

    Avoiding these estate planning mistakes can help you preserve your interests while protecting your loved ones in the future, a Denver estate attorney explains. Here’s why.

    Hinging an entire estate plan on a will aloneWills can be the backbones of estate plans, but they are limited in scope, meaning they don’t cover all situations or estate planning needs.

    In fact, a will is not going to provide details about what should happen if, instead of passing away, you end up incapacitated or in a coma. As a result, it’s best to build up the backbone of the estate plan (i.e., the will) with other essential components, such as powers of attorney.

  2. Never updating a will after it has been executed – An outdated will can be as problematic as the lack of a will for an estate. That’s because outdated wills can identify personal representatives or beneficiaries who have passed away (or who are estranged); they can name assets no longer owned by the decedent; etc.To avoid letting a will become irrelevant, it’s advised that people review and revise their wills at least once per year (or at any point when they experience certain significant changes to their family or estate).
  3. Failing to use POD/TOD designations – One of leading reasons that people develop estate plans is to ensure that their loved ones receive certain assets upon their passing.Although wills can (and do) spell out how certain property should be distributed, for some assets – like bank accounts, retirement accounts and insurance policies, taking advantage of the payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) designations can be an effective way to transfer cash assets directly to some beneficiary without the need for probate. So, don’t make the mistake of overlooking this simple yet effective step in estate planning.
  4. Not naming alternative personal representatives – Just because you have identified someone who you would want to oversee the probate of your estate in the future does not necessarily mean that your choice will be available or willing to serve in this role later.If you don’t end up naming at least one possible alternative, this could mean that the court gets to decide who oversees the settlement of your estate – and the court’s choice may end up being far different (and less beneficial) than your other options/potential alternatives.

Contact a Denver Estate Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

When you are ready to develop a comprehensive estate plan, contact a Denver estate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

To schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers and find out more about how we can assist you, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page. From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Drafting Wills, Estate Planning, Powers of Attorney