If you are creating an estate plan in California, there are a few common mistakes that you can avoid. One of them is not being an active participant when you prepare it with the help of a professional. You should understand all the elements of your estate plan and ask questions about anything that is unclear.
Another common error is failing to update the estate plan, particularly the beneficiary designation. Even people who regularly review their will and any trusts may forget about these forms that they may have filled out when they first purchased life insurance or set up a retirement account. Beneficiary designations also override what you have put in a will or trust, and this can mean that these valuable assets end up going to an ex-spouse.
Powers of attorney
You should also have powers of attorney for health care and financial matters, and these need to be updated regularly as well. They appoint someone to make certain decisions on your behalf in the event you become physically or mentally incapacitated.
Changes in the law
Changes in your family or your assets are both reasons to revise your estate plan. However, changes in law may also mean that you need to change your estate planning strategy, so you might want to periodically go over your plan with an attorney even if nothing major has happened in your life.
Talking to your family about your estate plan can reduce the likelihood that your plan will be misunderstood, and working with an attorney to create it can help ensure that your documents are prepared correctly. These safeguards make it more likely that your wishes are observed and that your loved ones receive your assets as you intended.