Like every legal process, creating a comprehensive estate plan can often feel like an exceptionally challenging scenario. Considering one’s own mortality might be challenging enough but having to make end-of-life decisions about assets decades in advance takes on numerous layers of complexity. Fortunately, it is possible to review, revise and refine various estate planning documents until you feel they correctly reflect your wishes.
While every situation is unique, there are several items or complications that many people overlook in an estate plan, including:
- Not accounting for sentimental value: Too often, people draft a comprehensive estate plan focusing only on their high-value assets. The family home, vehicles, a cabin, an art collection or jewelry, for example, will likely come first in any will. Unfortunately, failing to account for sentimental objects can lead to frustration and family strife in the future. These objects can be a sports trophy, a military flag or a prized paper weight. It is important to remember the value of sentimental property.
- Not including secondary beneficiaries: In some situations, the primary beneficiary might be unlocated or simply refuse the inheritance. When this happens, it is important to have secondary beneficiaries listed on valuable property. With a secondary beneficiary in place, this can remove unnecessary delays and disputes from the proceedings.
- Not including language about ancillary costs: In taking the time to craft a comprehensive estate plan, individuals might forget certain ancillary costs that the estate should absorb. These costs can include travel expenses or the shipment of property. It is wise to clearly state in the estate plan that beneficiaries are not responsible for this debt.
Writing an estate plan that covers every factor is nearly an impossible task. It is wise to thoroughly consider your options, however, as you begin to draft these documents. Too often, people attempt to rush through the process as quickly as possible as many find it unsavory. Fortunately, it is possible to refine and revise the estate planning documents to correct initial errors.