As people age, they begin to consider what will happen after they’re gone. How will their family react? Will they need help? Will they even keep the house? Most people seek legal protections for their legacy by setting up trusts, writing a will, and establishing power of attorney. But is this enough to include in an estate plan?
Despite these goals, many people end up with incomplete estate plans. These complex documents cover many areas of law, making it relatively easy to overlook a crucial area. However, families can avoid estate planning mistakes by working with an attorney knowledgeable in Tennessee estate planning laws.
Top 5 Estate Planning Mistakes
To fully protect one’s hard-earned legacy, they will need a comprehensive estate plan that avoids these common mistakes:
- Not having a financial security plan. Too many people have difficulty envisioning their future. What will retirement look like? Will I need late-in-life healthcare? Working with a financial advisor to answer these questions can help families visualize their future and set an action plan to make it happen.
- Not assigning power of attorney. Nearly 50% of all Americans require late-in-life care, which may include debilitating conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s. Designating power of attorney to a trusted individual allows them to make responsible health care and financial decisions should the planner become incapacitated.
- Overlooking funeral arrangements. Though this may not seem important, planning one’s final arrangements is among the kindest things one can do for those left behind. Setting aside finances and making official arrangements can help families avoid undue stress and focus on healing.
- Not accounting for digital assets. In modern society, most people have a wealth of digital assets. Subscription services, music downloads, online banking, and social media are subject to Tennessee’s default property division laws and probate, just like physical assets.
- Not discussing it with the family. Many wish to make these arrangements quietly to avoid an uncomfortable subject with their family. Though this may seem kind, these omissions tend to lead to strife and potential will contests. Having an open discussion with one’s heirs can provide them with a clear idea of what is wanted, needed, or completely unnecessary.
The best way to avoid all these mistakes, and more, is with the guidance of a Middle Tennessee estate planning lawyer well-practiced in state law.
There Is No Better Time To Start Planning
According to CNBC, a study conducted in early 2022 found that 67% of Americans do not have an estate plan. This means that over two-thirds of the country’s assets will be subject to probate and property division laws without protections for the family. Those worried about what they stand to lose can reach out to a local estate planning attorney for help today.