There are a lot of things that can go wrong with your estate plan. Here are five:
- You don’t talk to your family. Don’t assume that everyone will be happy with the decisions you made, and that they will go along with everything. Ask your executor and guardian of minor children before appointing them; make sure your family understands why you’re leaving unequal amounts to each child; ask your siblings if there are any family heirlooms they might like to have. A few conversations now can take away a lot of pain later.
- You don’t pick an alternate. No one likes to think about death, but it comes to us all – including named executors and guardians. You should have alternates and failsafes in place.
- You chose someone out of obligation. You shouldn’t pick your executor because you feel you have to. Even if it means choosing a more distant relative, or a friend, or even a corporate executor, you should always choose the best person and not the person you feel you have to in order to avoid hurt feelings.
- You set it and forgot it. Estate plans are living documents. While they shouldn’t need to be updated annually, you should at least be looking at it regularly to make sure it still meets your needs.
- You didn’t want to start until everything was in place. Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good; it’s better to have a good choice for executor than never to make your will because you couldn’t think of the perfect choice.