Pennsylvania residents who create estate plans should be aware of certain pitfalls. It’s crucial to avoid these common mistakes, which could create problems later.
Not including provisions for your final arrangements
Whether you wish to be buried or cremated, you may have envisioned what you want to happen after you die. However, if you don’t include instructions for your final arrangements in your will, no one will know what. You should also designate a person you trust to handle the arrangements to ensure that your wishes are met. Prepaid funeral plans can be helpful so that the funeral director already knows your wishes.
Not preparing for incapacity
Anything could happen in the future, so you never know if you might become incapacitated. Neglecting to consider this possibility is one of the biggest estate planning mistakes people make. To ensure that your financial and health care matters are properly handled, you should have powers of attorney created and choose agents to handle things if you can’t voice your wishes.
Not updating your beneficiary designations
One of the biggest mistakes you could make with your estate plan is to not update your beneficiary designations. Changing circumstances require you to periodically do so. Whether you have married, divorced, had a child, or someone has died, if you neglect to take this step, it may have negative consequences. Someone won’t be able to get an inheritance you intended to leave them while another person you don’t want to get a portion of your assets will get a share of them.
You should also name contingent beneficiaries. These are second or third choices who will inherit assets after you have passed away. Sometimes, your first-choice beneficiary dies before you, which is why you need to name at least a second beneficiary.
It is always wise to put together a comprehensive estate plan in concert with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through these and many other potential pitfalls.