Planning for the future involves thinking about events that could happen and those that will definitely happen, like death. Most people don’t like to ponder these issues, yet it’s crucial for many North Carolina residents to prepare for them. Putting off estate planning can not only prove to be costly for an individual but also for his or her family. Not considering estate planning at all is one of the most common mistakes many people make when it comes to long-term financial, health care and legal planning.
Important things to consider
With adequate guidance and support, one can ensure that there aren’t any errors in a comprehensive estate plan. Even small errors could lead to big issues when it comes time to settle the estate or to act on certain initiatives contained within, like a power of attorney. An estate plan should also be updated as life changes and at least dusted off and looked at every three years or so to ensure it’s current. An estate owner needs to be totally transparent when it comes to issues like health care and regarding situations where he or she can no longer make decisions. Not doing so can create undue hardship for family members who might have to make important decisions on behalf of a loved one.
Specifics to avoid
Here are some common errors that should be avoided during estate planning:
- Not having an estate plan at all
- Leaving out plans for long-term health care needs, including nursing care
- Overlooking the need for and importance of updating plans as life changes — for instance, after marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, etc.
- Not factoring in possible income tax penalties from estate planning decisions
Any of these mistakes when establishing a comprehensive estate plan can be easily avoided. When a testator in North Carolina understands how he or she might be able to protect future interests when creating an estate plan, it can ultimately prove to be less stressful on family members. An experienced lawyer can carefully guide someone through this process to make sure all necessary items are properly covered.