A well-crafted estate plan can help ensure that you and your family are as prepared as possible for whatever life throws your way—from the unexpected twists to the inevitable turns. This vital collection of legal documents outlines your wishes, providing instructions for personal matters and managing and distributing your assets after death or in the event you are incapacitated.
When carefully and correctly prepared, an estate plan can bring peace of mind to you and your loved ones during challenging times and provide a clear roadmap for handling your affairs according to your values and priorities.
However, planning an estate can be complex and complicated and without skilled guidance, it’s easy to make mistakes that could undermine your efforts to secure your family’s safety and security.
The skilled attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey know what you should and should not do when creating a comprehensive estate plan that empowers you to achieve your objectives.
Your financial power of attorney (POA), health care POA, and estate executor are fiduciaries: individuals you choose to act on your behalf who are legally obligated to prioritize your best interests and handle your affairs responsibly and ethically.
- Select trusted individuals, such as close friends or family members, to fill these essential roles.
- Include alternates in case your chosen fiduciaries are unable or unwilling to serve when the time comes.
- Ensure your executor and the alternate know where and how to access your important documents.
- Choose one person to serve as financial POA, health care POA, and executor.
- Forget to tell your executor (and the alternate) where to find the documents that make up your estate plan.
Notifying Family and Other Beneficiaries
People often expect their loved ones to instinctively know their final wishes or what they’d want if they became incapacitated; however, that frequently isn’t the case. Leaving your family to grapple with these weighty decisions can result in confusion, conflicts, and added emotional burden during an already challenging time.
- Let your family know you’re outlining your wishes and instructions in an estate plan.
- Notify the individuals you’d like to serve as your financial POA, health care POA, estate executor, and alternates.
- Inform your spouse, children, friends, and other beneficiaries of their designations.
- Discuss potentially unpopular decisions, such as bequeathing your children unequal inheritances or disinheriting a family member.
- Assume that your loved ones can carry out your wishes without guidance.
- Surprise beneficiaries with unequal distribution without explanation. What seems like inequity can lead to hurt feelings, strained relationships, and even challenges to your estate plan.
Getting Professional Guidance
Creating an estate plan without professional assistance can be confusing. Our knowledgeable and experienced Radcliff, Kentucky estate planning lawyers can help you craft an estate plan that provides optimal protection.
- Work with a trusted attorney to create a robust estate plan that addresses your needs and goals for the future. Our skilled estate planning attorneys have decades of experience helping Central Kentucky families plan their estates.
- Ask your attorney to walk you through your entire estate plan to ensure you understand what it entails, as well as your responsibilities.
- Overlook the dangers of a do-it-yourself estate plan, which can lead to unintended consequences, potential legal issues, and a lack of sufficient personalization to suit your unique needs and family dynamics.
- Forget to fund a revocable trust (also called a living trust) in your estate plan, which can require transferring ownership of designated assets to the trust.
- Fail to coordinate your trust and retirement plans by evaluating your retirement beneficiaries to ensure they work with the rest of your estate plan.
Keeping Your Estate Plan Up to Date
When life changes, your estate plan should also change. Our Kentucky estate planning lawyers can help you review and revise your estate plan as needed to ensure it remains effective.
- Review your estate plan every two to three years.
- Revisit your estate plan after major life events, such as births, deaths, divorces, marriages, major illnesses or disease diagnoses, or significant changes in your net worth.
- Work with your attorney to make updates as necessary.
- Forget to update beneficiary or fiduciary designations as your needs or goals change.
- Don’t neglect regular reviews of your estate plan, even in the absence of notable life events, as changes to laws may necessitate changes to your plan.