While estate planning isn’t the way most people would like to spend their time, it is an essential task if we want to ensure our wishes are met and our families and loved ones are cared for after we pass. Here are five of the most common estate planning mistakes to avoid:
- Thinking you’re too young: Estate planning should be thought about simply in terms of thinking ahead, not in terms of when you think you will pass away. As soon as you start to live independently and gather assets, you should start planning your estate. This will ensure your property goes to the people most important to you, who need it most – not to those the state selects.
- Forgetting to sign a Health Care Directive: This is a legal document giving the person of your choosing the ability to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you be unable to. Many people think a Living Will takes care of this, but it doesn’t. If you have strong feelings about whether you prefer to be or not to be kept alive in certain medical situations, this is a very important document to consider.
- Excluding your business from your plan: For many people, their business is more than their livelihood – it’s their passion. However, it is often forgotten about when it comes to estate planning. Consider what would happen to your business if you pass away – who should it go to? Is there someone who can buy it? How will this affect your dependents?
- Taking a DIY approach: In reality, the technical side of estate planning is very complex – it’s not as simple as leaving certain assets to certain people. The tax side, for example, needs to be managed very carefully in order to ensure the least amount of tax possible is levied on your estate. This will have a significant effect on the outcome of your estate and needs to be addressed by a professional who knows this system intimately and can give you solid advice.
- Choosing the wrong executor: This is the person who will be responsible for administering your estate and, as such, will not benefit from your estate. It’s very important the chosen person knows you and your family, knows and supports your views and has the time and ability to perform their duties. An estate planning lawyer can help you decide who will fit this position, explain their duties and even help add a third party who can assist the executor, such as a bank trust department.
Frank Campisano is an estate planning specialist at Sedita, Campisano and Campisano in New Jersey, who brings an exceptional level of patience and compassion to this often emotional process. With many years of experience, he can assist you in developing an estate plan that addresses all your requirements in a comprehensive manner, ensuring your hard work and assets go to the people you love rather than to the government. At our practice, trust is the key – and we’ll give you all the time, advice and expertise you need to ensure your wishes are carried out. For more information about estate planning or to book an appointment to see Frank Campisano, please contact us today.