Planning for the future can be difficult, especially when it involves finances and property. Estate planning is important in ensuring that all of your California assets are cared for. But, if you don’t put in the effort to do it correctly, you could end up making a serious mess of things.
Failing to put anything in writing
Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on verbal agreements or informal handshakes. Estate planning documents are legal instruments that need to be signed to be valid. The only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out is to have them in writing.
Not updating your plan regularly
Things change, and so should your estate plan. Make sure you’re regularly updating it as necessary to reflect life events such as marriage, divorce, births, deaths, and changes in financial circumstances.
Not naming beneficiaries
If you want to be sure that your assets go where you want them after you’re gone, name beneficiaries on all your accounts. Otherwise, the court could decide who gets what after your death, and it might not be what you wanted.
Not protecting your assets
When planning your estate, ensure your assets are protected from creditors, taxes, and other liabilities. This can be done by setting up trusts or other legal vehicles to ensure your assets are safe from outside interference.
Poorly structured beneficiary designations
When you’re naming beneficiaries on your accounts, make sure that they are designated correctly. If the documents don’t match up with the actual beneficiaries, it could confuse and delay the distribution of assets.