COMMON ESTATE PLANNING MISTAKES

We understand that it can be very difficult to discuss what has to be done with assets and property when you pass away; however, if you have not prepared your estate it can be even more complicated and expensive for your family to navigate the probate process when you pass. Here at McDonald Law Group, we help make that process as smooth and simple as possible. We have experienced attorneys that can assist you in developing a well detailed plan to protect the assets that you have been working hard to acquire throughout your lifetime.

A Few Common Mistakes  

  1. Not having a Trust. Once you establish a trust you can transfer your assets into your trust which typically you have complete control over during your life time. This allows you to protect your assets for your heirs while still maintaining control over your assets. Then your appointed trustee manages the trust after you pass. The trustee will divide your assets according to your direction thus eliminating the need for the Court. Not only does a trust save your assets for your heirs, you can literally reach out after death with a trust to control the actions of your heirs. For example if you want your grandson to go to college before he inherits from your estate you can specify that in a trust. You can also make specific provisions in your trust for the care of your pets. We call these pet trusts. Without these provisions many pets are euthanized after the death of an owner. These are just a few of the options you can set up in a trust.
  2. Not having a Will. There are instances where you may be better suited for a will than a trust. The issue that you can face is that wills are governed by a legal process known as probate. Probate is the process by which the Courts divide your assets and give them to your heirs. If your estate does not qualify for an exemption from probate, it is expensive and can take a very long time. Meanwhile your hard earned assets could be going to pay for the fees and costs leaving very little for your family.
  3. Not having Powers of Attorney. Finally it is very important to set up powers of attorneys for yourself. Powers of attorney allow your designated representative to make decisions for you in case of emergencies and are only effective while you are living. If, for example, you are admitted to the hospital and became incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself chances are you would need two powers of attorney; one for your healthcare and one for your assets. A healthcare power of attorney would allow for an agent of your choosing to make decisions for you with regards to your treatment, most importantly your agent would make decisions regarding life sustainment. A power of attorney for property and financial affairs would allow for your agent to pay your bills and make decisions regarding your accounts. You decide how broad their powers are and what they have access to. Your power of attorney tells them how you would like to your affairs to be handled.

It is a good idea to keep these documents updated, as the laws change over the years and so might the assets that you need to protect. McDonald law group has years of experience drafting and amending Wills and Trusts. Let us help protect what was achieved and earned throughout your lifetime and put it into the hands of loved ones instead of probate courts and attorneys. Take some time to review your estate plans to ensure that your family is well protected and avoid leaving behind a road map with no directions or instructions to be followed. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or representation. If you have any questions or want to set up a free consultation, please feel free to call us at 702-448-4962.