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Creating an effective estate plan involves some time and effort, but the benefits of a thoughtfully tailored and implemented plan can more than make up for it. Unfortunately, a surprising number of estate plans are not effective and do not actually provide the benefits their creators intended.
There are a few reasons your estate plan might fail. Here are the most common reasons, as well as tips to avoid winding up in these situations:
- Plan isn’t current. Having a Will, Trust, and other estate planning documents prepared is something people sometimes check off their mental list of things they need to do. However, as life changes, it is important to update these documents to make sure they are still current. Failing to address births, deaths, changed financial circumstances, or changed relationships and wishes could result in the ultimate execution of a plan that does not do what you want it to. Revisit your documents periodically and update them as needed.
- Unfunded Trust. In order to make a revocable or irrevocable Trust work the way it is supposed to, you need to “fund” the Trust by retitling assets into the name of the Trust, pointing assets toward the Trust by way of beneficiary designations or pour-over Wills, or both. If you create a Trust but don’t put anything into it, you’ve spent money on an ineffective estate plan. Your estate planning attorney can help you make sure your Trust is funded properly.
- Documents don’t do what you think. In some cases, people create do-it-yourself estate planning documents thinking they have made effective estate plans. All too often, questions are misinterpreted in the process. The end result can be ineffective documents. When you work with an experienced, knowledgeable estate planning attorney, you can be confident that your documents reflect your goals and wishes.
Your estate plan is important. Let us help ensure your plan does what you want it to do, when you need it most. Contact us today to get started!