We guide many people through the estate planning process, and we see the same mistakes and oversights made over and over again. With that in mind, we wanted to take a minute to go over some of those mistakes because these issues can cost you a lot.

Here are the four biggest estate planning errors that could cost money:

1. Not having an estate plan: By far, the biggest error is to not have a plan in place at all. So many people believe that once they’re gone it’s not their problem, so they’re not going to worry about it. However, having no estate plan can leave chaos in the lives of your loved ones, and what people think will be a quick and easy distribution of assets isn’t always quick and easy.

2. Forgetting to update your plan: Life changes a lot. New family members, pets, properties, gains and losses of fortune – they all add up to changes in the estate plan. A good rule of thumb is to revisit your estate plan when major life changes occur: marriage, having kids, empty-nester, retirement and elder age.

3. Working with people you don’t trust: Think long and hard about who has any involvement in your estate planning. This includes lawyers, executors and whoever has your agent in your powers of attorney. For example, if the choice for executor can’t handle the thought of death and isn’t having open conversations about your plans, they may not be the right person to handle the estate.

4. Forgetting we age: Often, we see people plan for death and forget that there needs to be a plan for later years, especially in the event that they become incapacitated in some way. Making wishes for end of life care, granting trusted people powers of attorney (both for medical and financial issues), and setting up a living will are tasks that are often overlooked in estate planning.

With so many parts to an estate plan, it’s important to do it right. Partnering with the right estate lawyer can ensure those details are done. Contact Thornton Law Firm to set up an estate planning consultation