5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
Estate planning can be a confusing and challenging process for anyone. This involves setting goals for your well-being – physically and financially – and for your family after you pass on. Adding to the confusion can be the various “dos and don’ts” involved or advice you hear from friends and family. Along with sound advice on what you should do to begin or follow up on an estate plan are several crucial mistakes one can make. These include:
- Not creating trusts. Many people focus simply on what happens to their “stuff” within the context of a will. If you have any financial assets, you also want to consider the strategies involved with revocable and irrevocable trusts as part of your estate. A revocable trust in Florida, for example, allows you as the trust’s grantor to manage assets during your lifetime and also distribute to beneficiaries upon death. An essential feature of revocable trusts is that they can be modified during the grantor’s lifetime. On the other hand, an irrevocable trust offers certain protections (from creditors, for example) but cannot be modified or revoked. Chapter 736 of the Florida Statutes gives guidelines on how and when creditors can make claims against assets held in a trust.
Additionally, you may want to consider a Special Needs Trust under certain circumstances. Suppose you are managing the estate for a disabled adult individual, for example. In that case, Special Needs Trusts can help manage assets during their lives while also keeping them qualified for Medicaid in Florida.
- Not knowing how your will and estate planning documents function. Depending on your situation, you may hold assets in your own name, shared with a spouse, or as a partnership with family members or business partners. Chances are, you may have various interests in different types of holdings. You may also not know exactly what happens to these assets – or your shares – if you should pass away. A detailed and competent estate plan usually includes not only a will but also trusts, retirement accounts, and other plans. You want to make sure your assets go where you want them to go, and the best way to do that is to participate in the process with a Florida estate planning attorney that can review your best options with you.
- Not updating your estate plan when needed. Understandably, once you’ve completed a will and other functions as part of an estate plan, you want to breathe a sigh of relief and never think about it again. However, a good estate plan requires some routine maintenance once in a while. Your assets can change, your family dynamics may change, beneficiaries change, and laws can change that affect distribution of property or taxes. You want to review your estate plan at least once every five years to ensure everything is up to date and in accordance with your goals.
- Not accounting for long-term care. Usually, we think about nursing-home, and special-needs care as a distant prospect or something that other people have to deal with. Unfortunately, almost every one of us will have to be admitted to long-term care as we get older. Whether this is a result of old age, or a sudden medical emergency, the best time to plan for long-term care is now. If you make this part of your estate plan, you can cover your goals for various power-of-attorney roles and the costs involved with long-term or nursing home care. The average monthly price for nursing home care in Florida is $8,669 for a semi-private room, so ideally, you will address this cost before it arises and can wipe out your financial assets.
- Not using an estate planning attorney to map out your estate plan. It is tempting to cut costs by taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to estate planning. You may be looking at the wide variety of cheap online services available or relying on the advice of a friend. However, while these people and service providers have good intentions, they don’t know Florida law as intricately as a Florida-based estate planning attorney. Our attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group in Tampa can sit down with you and discuss how your assets and goals interplay with Florida’s various laws that affect estate planning. The best way to avoid unwelcome surprises later, for you or your family, is to review all options now.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Estate Planning Attorney for Detailed Estate Planning Advice to Protect You and Your Family
Your property, assets, healthcare goals, and other parts of your life are too important to leave anything to chance. Following the wrong advice, ignoring crucial factors, or making other estate planning mistakes can have severe consequences. Our Tampa estate planning attorneys will take the time to review your concerns and ensure no stone is left unturned. Call our attorneys today at 813-286-1700 or schedule a free consultation online to get started.