As an experienced estate lawyer in Raleigh and Durham, NC, I’ve noticed some common mistakes that many people make when it comes to estate planning. While estate planning doesn’t need to be complicated, it does require thoughtfulness and thoroughness that is often better done when working with a professional.

Here are five common mistakes when it comes to estate planning:

  1. Not having a plan at all: Many people don’t even think about having a plan. When death happens (and it always will) the family and loved ones are left in total disarray and the property can be tied up in courts for years.
  2. Not having enough of a plan: Often, if people do have an estate plan, it’s only for their property and assets. It doesn’t take into account many other aspects of an estate plan such as guardianship of children, end of life care, living will, or care for pets.
  3. Not using all the resources available: Many people will overlook estate planning tools, such as trusts, thinking it’s not for people like them. By just creating a simple will, the creator might be missing out on some great opportunities to secure their estate.
  4. Not communicating the wishes: Even when it’s on paper, the parties involved need to know. Don’t leave surprises. Whoever the executor is, needs to know. They also need to know of any accounts and the originator’s wishes. Trust us, keeping these surprises are not helpful.
  5. Not updating the estate plan: As people age, their circumstances change. There may be a falling out, or they might outlive inheritors. Assets that once existed may not be there anymore. There may be stepchildren that factor in. It’s important to update estate plans throughout life.

Working with a trusted estate lawyer would ensure that these mistakes don’t happen. Contact Thornton Law Firm to get started on an estate plan.