Among estate planning professionals, it is a widely accepted fact that many estate plans fail. While that fact may discourage Pennsylvania residents, it is important to realize that most of the mistakes that produced failure could have been avoided. There are some consistent pitfalls of estate planning that can be avoided and are often the difference in the plan’s success and failure.

Follow through

Creating the estate plan is only the first step of the process. Once everything is put into writing, it’s important for the plan to be implemented and regularly updated. Failure to fund a living trust or failing to update important beneficiary forms are both examples of poor follow through.

This lack of follow through can lead to issues with the estate plan being viable when the time comes. This is why following through with the written plan is the most important thing.

Where is the disconnect?

Most of the issues that cause an estate plan to fail come from the nontechnical or “soft side” of the estate plan. While there isn’t a great deal of hard data on this concept, there is enough to prove that individuals should ask plenty of questions to create a thorough estate plan with the help of a professional.

Prepare the heirs

Sadly, a lot of estate plans fail through no fault of the planner. Some heirs are simply not prepared to responsibly handle a sudden influx of cash. That’s why it is so important to sit down and prepare any heirs mentioned in the estate plan for what is about to happen and help them build a foundation of responsibility.

Working with an attorney who is familiar with their state’s estate planning law is one way to set the plan up for success. An attorney may help fill out the needed forms as well as guide their client through gathering information about their own assets to ensure that their plan does not fail.