Thinking about the legal and financial needs a California adult may have in the future is not easy when crafting an estate plan. Even with the best of intentions, mistakes and missteps in this process can negatively impact an individual or his or her beneficiaries long-term. Handling the estate planning process with care can save time, money and considerable stress down the road.
An estate is not just a house. It includes everything owned by an individual, and a thorough plan should account for this. Leaving an important asset out could result in complications when it's time to settle the estate. It is also a mistake to overlook the importance of planning for the care of minor children in case of the unexpected death of both parents. Planning for emergencies should be a critical aspect of each estate plan.
When there is no estate plan or no terms that account for emergencies, the probate court will decide what happens to an estate or appoint a guardian to care for the kids. Another common estate planning mistake is to fail to update beneficiary designations after major life events. The birth of a child, a divorce, a death in the family and other changes in circumstances mean it may be necessary to go in and change the terms of a plan.
Estate planning can be a complicated process. A California adult would be wise to work with an experienced legal ally at every step, starting with a complete assessment of the estate and potential needs. This will lower the chance of mistakes and missteps that can cause problems in the future.