Though you undoubtedly know that having some sort of estate plan benefits you more than having no plan at all, you may also want to ensure that the decisions made relating to your plan work best for your circumstances. Exploring the various documents, tools and other helpful aspects of planning can allow you to understand the different choices you could make to tailor your plan to your specific needs and desires. Of course, you may also want to understand potential mistakes that could impact your plan.
Some planning mistakes could have only minor impacts while others could cause considerable upset among your surviving family. Therefore, remaining vigilant about creating and updating your plans could prevent such problems.
You may think that after you create your plan, you have done all you need to do. However, leaving the plan to gather dust after creation may not work in your best interests. Because you can gain and lose loved ones over the years, you need to review your plan and named beneficiaries to ensure that the individuals named still stand to inherit the intended assets.
You may also want to review your jointly owned property and the terms of that ownership. If your property does not have the right of survivorship, your property will need to go through probate rather than passing directly to the co-owner.
Another step that could potentially end up as a mistake for your particular situation involves how you bequeath items. If you choose to only utilize a will, your assets may not have as much protection as you might like. However, if you place assets into a trust, you can protect assets from creditors and other entities, and you can also dictate the terms of that trust. The terms of the trust could detail how and when individuals can use the funds or other property left to them.
Consider professional help
Especially with high-asset estates, do-it-yourself planning may not offer the same advantages that planning with a professional could provide. Because online forms often only address the most basic aspects of planning, you could cheat yourself out of the ability to fine-tune your plan to your needs.
If you want to discuss your ideas, concerns and hopes for your estate plan with a professional, you may wish to contact an experienced California attorney. Together, you and your legal counsel could craft a plan that suits your needs, and you can gain information on how to update your plan.