It is a common belief that estate planning in Pennsylvania is something that only the rich and famous can benefit from. However, if you have assets that you want to leave behind to your children or loved ones when you die, an estate plan can help to protect your final wishes and legacy. If you do not take the time to make plans for your estate now, it could end up going through a lengthy probate process. Also, your loved ones may not receive everything you want them to inherit.
Here are some mistakes you should avoid when making your estate plans to protect your assets and heirs.
Choosing the wrong person as executor
It may seem right for you to choose your spouse or oldest child to serve as your estate’s executor. But you are not obligated to select them. Although you know and love them, it is important for you to pick a person or representative who is capable of keeping feelings separate from business to successfully manage your estate. A good choice for executor should be:
- Financially smart and responsible
- Honest and accountable
- Flexible and available
- Impartial and courteous
Depending on your situation, there may be other qualities for you to look for in an executor. You should also consider co-executors and secondary administrators for your estate.
Talking to your kids/loved ones about your estate plans
Do not wait until you are ill or close to death to discuss your estate plan with your kids and loved ones. You do not necessarily need to disclose all details but just enough so your relatives know and understand your intent. Talking to your beneficiaries before you pass away about your final wishes can help to keep them from arguing and disputing them.
Not updating your plans
As unsettling as estate planning may seem, it is important for you to review your plans often. You should update your plans to reflect your current wishes. Your plans should also reflect the present value of your assets. Do not forget to make sure your beneficiary selections are up to date.
When done right, estate planning can help to preserve your legacy. It allows you to retain control over what happens to your estate when you die and to pass on inheritances to your loved ones.