Consulting with experienced trust attorneys can help Illinois residents avoid common estate planning mistakes. Estate planning errors and omissions can make a loved one’s death even more difficult and stressful for surviving family members. Everyone with any amount of assets should plan ahead for the distribution of their belongings and management of their financial and personal matters after death. Still, less than half of all adults in the United States have a comprehensive estate plan in place. A few of the most common mistakes Chicago estate planning lawyers see people make include:
Assuming they are too young to need a will
Anyone over the age of 18 who has a vehicle or any type of bank account should have an estate plan. A single person with no children and few belongings may not need a complex plan, but a will should be established to direct the distribution of assets in case of death occurs. For any adult with children, a will and formal estate plan is a must to avoid confusion and ensure estate matters are handled according to the deceased’s wishes.
Selecting the wrong people to manage their estate
Part of creating an estate plan involves choosing an executor. It may include having trustees and someone with power of attorney. Choosing these people is an important decision and should not be done without speaking in detail with the person selected for each role. These positions have responsibilities. Selecting the wrong people can result in family arguments, law suits, delays in probate, and financial problems for surviving family members.
Failing to include digital assets
When creating an estate plan, it is important to provide information about any digital assets. This includes passwords for social media accounts, digital photos and important documents stored in the cloud, and all digital purchases like movies and music. Digital purchases are considered real assets in most states. Trust attorneys can advise on proper estate planning for digital assets.
Not including pets in the estate plan
Many pets end up in shelters every year because their owners have fallen ill or died without planning for their care. A pet trust can set aside enough money for the pet’s care. Doing this will make it easier to find an appropriate caretaker. It is important that selected people be aware of the pet’s medical needs or other specific requirements and that they are willing to accept the responsibility.