Making mistakes in the estate planning process can cost your loved ones significantly in the future. Here’s a look at some of the most common and costly estate planning mistakes and what you can do to avoid making them.

Don’t Make these Estate Planning Mistakes…

1 – Drafting a will without the help of a lawyer

Experienced Trinidad & Pueblo estate attorneys point out some of the most common and costly estate planning mistakes to avoid making. Contact us for help creating an effective estate plan for you and your family.

Experienced Trinidad & Pueblo estate attorneys point out some of the most common and costly estate planning mistakes to avoid making. Contact us for help creating an effective estate plan for you and your family.

While you may have some very specific ideas of how you want your estate to be handled upon your death, formalizing these wishes in a will is essential to ensuring they get carried out properly in the future. In Colorado, there are very specific rules about what steps have to be taken in order to craft a legally binding, valid will.

For instance, wills have to be witnessed by two uninterested parties, and a notary must be present before you sign your will.

So, avoid drafting a will that could be invalidated later by working with an experienced lawyer to craft a valid will that accurately reflects your estate planning needs and wishes.

2 – Failing to set up powers of attorney

Wills are not the only important estate planning documents to put in place, and people commonly make the mistake of only creating a will when they focus on creating their estate plan.

This misstep could result in them not developing powers of attorney, which may be invaluable in the event they become incapacitated in the future. In fact, it’s generally advised that people develop financial and medical powers of attorney to ensure their important economic and health care needs are appropriately managed in the future if they are can’t manage these needs themselves.

Without powers of attorney in place, it will be up to the courts to appoint someone to oversee these affairs, and the court may end up selecting someone whom you don’t want to handle these affairs on your behalf.

3 – Forgetting about estate taxes and life insurance policies

Another common mistake people make during the estate planning process is forgetting to address:

  • Estate taxes – Specifically, this can involve planning for how these taxes will be paid and for how the estate will be taxed in the future (based on the value of the estate). In other words, putting some plans in place now can help people reduce their loved one’s estate tax burdens later, saving more of the estate’s assets for the beneficiaries (rather than having them go to the government).
  • Insurance policy proceeds – These proceeds can be subject to estate taxes if the proper plans are not put in place ahead of time. Again, this can end up meaning that the financial support intended for a loved one ends up going to the government instead of the beneficiary.

4 – Forgetting to update your estate plan

Just because you have a comprehensive estate plan in place does not mean that your plan should be shelved and forgotten about. In fact, another costly estate planning mistake arises when people forget to review and update their estate plan as their life circumstances change.

To avoid this mistake, get in the habit of reviewing your estate plan annually and updating it as needed. This can help you ensure that your plan reflects your current situation, needs and wishes and that your loved ones don’t end up shouldering unneeded emotional and financial stress in the future.

Trinidad & Pueblo Estate Attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth

When you are ready to start the estate planning process, the Trinidad & Pueblo estate attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth are ready to provide you with the highest quality legal services.

To learn more about our superior legal services and how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.

Categories: Estate Planning