Top 10 Estate Planning Mistakes

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Estate Planning MistakesVery few people like to think about their death; however, it is something we all must think about and plan for if we want to protect our assets and provide for our families. The estate planning attorneys of Lovett & Lovett Co., LPA want to help you avoid these common estate planning mistakes by offering you sound, competent estate planning advice right now. Contact our office if you have questions about estates or if you want to begin the estate planning process.

Estate Planning Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Failing to Review Your Estate Documents

Just because you have a will, trust agreement, healthcare power of attorney, or other estate planning documents do not make the mistake of thinking you are finished. Because you have changes in your life and because Ohio probate laws can change, you should review your will and other estate planning documents with your attorney on a regular basis. Moving, the birth of children, marriage, divorce, death, and other changes require you to update your will. If you fail to review your will, your wishes may not be carried out upon your death.

I do not need a will because I am leaving everything to my spouse.

Without a will, the Ohio intestate laws will determine who your heirs are and who receives your property. Your spouse may or may not receive the full interest of your estate without a will.

I do not need a will because my spouse is deceased (or I am divorced) and my children will just get everything.

Again, if you die without a will, the state decides who receives your property. Do not let the state make this decision for you — take the time to prepare a will now.

I do not need a business succession plan.

If you own and operate your own business, it is crucial that you have a business succession plan in place to ensure the business continues or the business is sold and the proceeds are distributed according to your wishes. Do not assume that adult children want to operate the business after you pass.

Procrastination

Unfortunately, we all must die. Assuming you will have time next month or next year to take care of your estate planning could cost your family additional money to settle your estate.

Failing to update your will if you purchase a major asset

Part of your estate plan is planning for tax consequences. If you purchase a major asset, this could affect your estate plans for tax purposes. You may want to consider a trust or other estate planning tool to avoid estate or inheritance taxes. If you purchase a new piece of real estate or another asset, consult your attorney to determine if you need to revise your estate plan.

Failing to have a Healthcare Power of Attorney or Living Will

Estate planning is more than just planning for your death. You need to have a plan in place in the event you become disabled. Having a power of attorney and a healthcare directive allows you to name the person you trust to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so for yourself.

I trust my new spouse and my stepchildren because we all get along

Blended families can complicate an estate plan. You must take into consideration how you want to provide for your new spouse while protecting your children from a previous marriage. We can help you develop and estate plan that accomplishes your goals and protects your children and your current spouse.

Thinking you do not need an estate plan

You need an estate plan or the courts will control your estate pursuant to the Ohio intestate laws. If you die without a will, you cannot leave money to charities and friends. You cannot provide for a beloved pet and you cannot stop a minor from receiving a substantial amount of money and/or assets on the child’ 18th birthday without a will. An estate plan allows you to be in control — this is true regardless of your financial situation.

I can use forms online or purchased from a store to prepare my estate documents

This is one of the most dangerous estate planning mistakes you can make. Estate planning documents you find online or purchase through a company are not state-specific. They may not be valid in Ohio. Furthermore, the forms may not contain everything you need in order to accomplish your goals. Services that claim they can provide you with valid, estate planning documents for a very low price often are not affiliated with an attorney. You cannot be sure what you are purchasing is legal or valid in Ohio.

Lovett & Lovett Co., LPA is an experience Ohio estate planning law firm. Our attorneys offer support, guidance, and sound legal advice to assist you as you are making some of the most important decisions for you and for your family. Don’t trust something this important to a DIY website.

Contact an Experienced Ohio Estate Planning Law Firm

The estate planning attorneys and elder law attorneys of Lovett & Lovett Co., LPA represent clients in Dayton and throughout Miami Valley. We help individuals plan for the future to protect their assets and their families. We can discuss several estate planning tools that accomplish your goals.

Contact our office by calling our office, dropping by our office, or requesting a free telephone appointment with our online request form. We want to help you avoid estate planning mistakes that could cost your family time, frustration, and expense after you are gone.

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