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How to prevent common errors in estate planning

There are several common mistakes that people in Georgia who are making an estate plan should avoid. One is failing to let the executor or others know what the estate assets are and where to find them.

It can be easy to overlook assets or crucial information when making a list like this. People may remember major assets, such as bank accounts, but forget about sentimental items and digital assets. It is also important to include all necessary information to access these accounts. This includes passwords and any personal information, such as the name of the person's first pet, that is used on security questions. Mortgage paperwork, the house deed, insurance policies, tax returns and any other documents of this nature should be placed somewhere safe but accessible.

Another common error is incorrect beneficiary designations. Some people may be unaware that these are necessary to pass on certain assets. Insurance policies and retirement accounts are among the assets that require beneficiary designations. Naming who will get these assets in a will or trust is not sufficient and will not override the instructions in a beneficiary designation.

Out-of-date beneficiary designations that conflict with other elements of the estate plan are part of one more common mistake, and that is failing to update the plan. An estate plan should be reviewed when there are changes in family or assets.

Working with an attorney to create an estate plan may help a person avoid these and other common estate planning errors. For example, some people create a trust, but then they fail to fund it. Others may make the wrong choice of person to be executor or to have power of attorney over finances or medical decisions. Talking with an attorney about the responsibilities associated with these roles may help a person craft the best possible estate plan.

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