Estate planning can seem pretty straightforward if you’re not familiar with the process. You decide who will inherit your assets when you’re no longer around and sign the dotted line, right? While this may be enough protection if you have a simple estate, the difference between a good estate plan and a great one is that a great estate plan will anticipate scenarios in the future that could prevent you from achieving your end-of-life goals.
You might think having a will is enough if you intend to leave everything to your spouse and children. However, certain situations can occur that can throw a wrench in your plans. Here are a few scenarios to consider when determining how to distribute your estate:
Many people fail to keep their beneficiary designations up to date on things like their retirement accounts or life insurance policies. Often, people open these accounts before they are married or have children. Because these are contracts, whoever you have listed as your beneficiary will receive this significant portion of your assets after you’re gone, even if your will states it should go to someone else.
Keeping heirs up to date
When planning for your end of life, many people don’t consider that, unfortunately, there are scenarios in which their spouses or children may die before them. If that is the case, your assets and legacy could go to the wrong person or put in the hands of a random guardian if your beneficiaries are under 18.
While you may plan to divide things equally between your spouse and children now, many estate plans fail to account for personal struggles in your heirs’ lives, such as addiction or significant debt. If one of your heirs has judgments against them from creditors when you pass away, their inheritance will likely go to the creditors instead of your kid.
A strong estate plan will ensure your assets and property go to the right people without interference. By working with an estate planning attorney, you can ensure you take steps now to protect your family and assets later.