If you have worked with an estate planning attorney to create an estate plan, you have made great strides towards providing for yourself and your family in your later years. However, estate planning requires both an initial investment of time, money, and effort, as well as continuing investments of the same. Once you have completed the task of making an estate plan, you must update and maintain it so that it will work as you intend it to.
Unfortunately, as with any planning, some things can undermine even the most carefully crafted estate plans. Your estate plan is no different. Today, we would like to share two sneaky things that can affect how your estate plan works and how you can avoid them. This first mistake may seem like an obvious one, not a sneaky one. If you have successfully avoided this mistake with your estate plan, you will be surprised to learn that some people did not prevent it, which is why we are discussing it here. Naming at least one alternate executor in your will is a crucial step towards making an estate plan that works. Likewise, naming at least one alternate trustee for each trust you have created, and alternate agents for your health care and financial powers of attorney are vital to the success of your estate plan. Fortunately, if you did not do these things in your estate plan initially, they are easy to fix with the aid of your estate planning attorney. If one or more of the people named to assume duties like executor, trustee, or agent in your estate plan have died, your attorney can help you to adjust those documents so that the alternates you listed take their places and new names get listed as alternates. Another essential point about naming trustees, executors, agents, and alternates, is that they can be changed as needed. If the names that you wrote into those estate plans are names of one or more people who have proven themselves untrustworthy, your attorney can help you replace them with other names of people you feel can carry out those duties as intended.
A second way that estate planning mistakes can sneak into your carefully crafted estate plan is relocation. Many people relocate later in life, and some choose to spend time in two or even three different places over the course of each year. When your state or country of legal residence changes or when you acquire property in a state or country that is not the place where you made your original estate plan, it’s time to check in with an estate planning attorney. Find an attorney in your new place of residence or the place where you bought the property and ask them what you must do to incorporate the change of residence and or new property or assets into your existing estate plan.
Don’t let estate planning mistakes sneak into your estate plan. Whether you are new to estate planning, you know what changes you must make to your estate plan, or you want to review your estate plan to see if changes should be made to it, schedule an initial consultation with the law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. Call our office today, at 316-265-7802. You may also connect with us online. Our Wichita office is open on weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.