One of the biggest estate planning errors that people in Georgia can make is failing to have a plan at all, but unfortunately, there are other mistakes that can leave them and their loved ones with just as little protection. For example, some people create a trust but then fail to fund it. This could mean that none of their wishes for the trust are carried out, especially if other estate planning documents contradict those wishes.
Contradictions in estate planning documents can cause other problems as well, even if each document is prepared correctly on its own. For example, beneficiary designations on retirement, life insurance and other accounts override what is written in a will or trust. This means that if you forget to update your beneficiary designations after a divorce, an ex-spouse could get some of your assets. It is best to review and update estate planning documents after any major family changes or changes in assets. Since there can also be changes in law that affect estate planning strategies, it is also a good idea to routinely review them even when your personal situation remains the same.
You should also avoid errors that can cause complications for heirs. For example, minors cannot be beneficiaries, so a guardian should be named. A child’s assets can also be placed in a trust. You may want to talk to an attorney about strategies to reduce the tax burden for beneficiaries.
It can be easy to put off learning more about estate plan preparation, but the consequences for your loved ones can be serious. Even if your wishes are eventually carried out, they could spend a lot of money and time on stressful court proceedings. A better approach is to create a plan with an attorney, discuss it with loved ones, and review it regularly.