For people with families in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, failing to have the right estate plan in place could cost your family money, not to mention lead to unnecessary hardships. The attorneys and staff at Parman & Easterday have helped our clients through some of the toughest estate planning issues around, but we have only done so after those clients have sought our help and advice. Without such guidance, there are mistakes that many people fall victim to. Let’s take a look at some of the most common of these costly errors.
Believing You Don’t Need a Plan
This is by far the most common estate planning mistake around today. About 50% of people never create any kind of estate planning tool whatsoever, often to the detriment of their families and loved ones. Should you die without an estate plan, or become incapacitated without a comprehensive plan in place, there will be a host of unanswered questions. Your family, in their time of grief, will be asked to answer many of these questions, and without your guidance and knowledge will find this challenging at best. Even if a dispute doesn’t arise, or doesn’t rise to the level of a legal battle, it leaves your family to address these unanswered questions and often costs a lot of money. Your estate will pay those expenses, ultimately reducing the amount of funds left to distribute as inheritances.
Crafting a Plan on Your Own
Another costly mistake is crafting a plan without the advice and guidance of an expert, such as an estate planning attorney. Many estate planning devices seem relatively simple when first viewed, but they hide deceptive complexities. Take, for example, your average will. A basic will only has to meet minimal requirements in order for a court to accept it as a valid document. However, simply meeting those basic requirements does not guarantee your will is an effective tool for conveying your wishes. Wills have to be individually crafted to meet your specific desires and circumstances, and leaving essential pieces out, even if they are not required by the law, can be a serious and potentially costly error.
Waiting Until it is Too Late
A lot of people know they need to have an estate plan and plan on creating one, but they keep pushing it off until a later date. This can be a significant mistake. Even if you are in good health you have no way of predicting what the future holds. Should you fail to craft a comprehensive estate plan, an unexpected life event could make you unable to do so. Further, some estate planning tools are time sensitive, and not crafting them well before you need them can cost your family far more money than they should.