A lot of people in North Carolina think that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. In fact, pretty much everyone could benefit from doing some estate planning, even when there are few assets to pass along. Here are three common estate planning mistakes that a lot of people make:
#1: Waiting too long to start
Procrastinating on your estate plan is never a good idea. No one can predict what life events will take place that could necessitate the need for a health care power of attorney or a guardian for your minor children. Estate planning is not only about planning for your death. It’s also about planning for the potential that you may need medical decisions to be made for you during your lifetime.
#2: Forgetting about beneficiary designations
Designating a beneficiary may seem like a routine part of opening a bank account. Some people forget that they even have beneficiary designations on their financial accounts, and many people forget to update them when circumstances change. Beneficiary designations are incredibly important because they usually bypass what’s written in a will.
#3: Never setting up powers of attorney
The agents under your powers of attorney are people you trust to respect your wishes if you ever become incapacitated. While you are creating an estate plan, you can designate one or more people to serve as your health care and financial attorneys-in-fact. These people will be allowed to step in and make decisions for you if you can’t use your own voice.
It’s never too early to start your estate plan
You can write a basic will and create some simple estate planning documents at any point in your life. If you have children, it is especially important to write a will for their sake. A lot of people don’t start estate planning because they don’t know where to begin, but it’s usually better to have any will than no will at all.