Because it is Financial Literacy Month, we thought we would share some common estate planning mistakes families in Pinellas County and throughout Florida make. Estate planning is important so your estate does not go into intestate, a process that takes time and complicates the process of estate distribution for your loved ones and beneficiaries.
1. Not Updating Your Estate Plan
Perhaps the biggest of the estate planning mistakes is not updating your will and/or trust regularly. Usually about every five years is about the right frequency. However, if your family changes in any manner including the addition of a child or children, increase in net worth, divorce or marriage, you should contact your estate attorney for a new estate plan.
2. Keeping Your Estate Plan a Secret
We understand that you may not want your children or other beneficiaries to know your net worth or what they will receive upon your death, but you should share some details regarding your end of life plan with them. Let them know who your estate attorney is. Share and provide them with a copy of your living will and medical power of attorney. Make sure your children know who the trustee of the estate is and how to contact them.
3. Creating Your Will Online
Although an online will is legal in most cases, it is rarely in your best interests. Only an attorney who is well-versed in Florida estate laws can help you avoid estate planning mistakes. They can advise you on whether a will or trust is right for you or if you should consider having both for your estate. Along this same line is making changes to your will or trust yourself. Again, it may be legal, but rarely is it a good idea.
Wagstaff & Pitelis Has the Experience to Help You
Although these are the top three estate planning mistakes we see, there are many others that individuals and couples make regularly. If you created your own will online or do not have one, call Wagstaff & Pitelis at (727) 584-8182. We can help you create a plan that makes sense for your family and assets.