One major purpose of estate planning is to avoid surprises and unintended consequences. You want the maximum amount of control over what happens to your assets and your family.
However, a failure to take certain precautions can lead to some surprises in your estate plan. You can avoid many of these issues by planning for various scenarios, even if they seem unlikely to occur.
Have a Backup Plan
It’s possible that your chosen heirs could pass away before you do. It’s also possible that the people you have chosen for certain roles may be unwilling or unable to serve when they are needed.
Consider naming a back-up or alternate for the following estate planning items:
- Alternate powers of attorney or executors if your first choice can’t serve for any reason.
- Alternate heirs in your will if your first choice has passed away before you.
- Alternate beneficiaries for retirement accounts and life insurance policies
You should also have an heir for your residuary estate in case you die while owning any property that is not specifically bequeathed in your estate.
A number of life events certainly require an estate plan review:
- You get married or divorced
- You have a child
- You move to another state
- You acquire a significant amount of new property
Even if you haven’t experienced any major events in the past few years, you may still need an estate plan checkup. Legislation at the state and federal level changes all the time, and it could impact your estate plan or present new planning opportunities.
Communicate With Loved Ones
You should communicate with your loved ones whenever you want to name them as a power of attorney, executor, or guardian for your minor children. These roles involve critical responsibilities, and your loved ones need to know what’s expected of them.
Whether to let your heirs know about their potential inheritances is a tougher decision. If you are giving one of your children much more property than another or leaving a loved one out of the will, you should consider how this will impact your family’s relationships after you’re gone. If you don’t want to explain your actions directly, you may decide to leave a note explaining your decisions.
If you haven’t met with your estate planning attorney in a few years, consider reviewing all your documents and seeing whether all your bases are still covered.
At King Law Office, we understand that your estate plan should be designed to fit your objectives and family situation. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Come visit us at one of our multiple office locations in North and South Carolina.