When planning for our estates it can be easy to make errors. Sometimes, it’s merely a matter of not making this critical task a priority. In other situations, even when we do prepare, it’s not in a way which provides our assets and beneficiaries with the best possible protection and advantages. Whether it’s lack of preparation or the wrong kind, there are certain common estate planning mistakes you can avoid.
Failing to Plan for Incapacity
You may have heard the old saying: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. When it comes to your capacity, if you decide not to prepare, you will not have any control over what happens with your care or finances if you become seriously impaired. You have no way of knowing if an accident or illness could incapacitate you and keep you from directing your care or protecting your interests. By taking the time to create an advance health care directive and power of attorney now, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that someone you trust will be there to make decisions on your behalf if something should happen.
Not Planning to Keep Assets Outside of Probate
Another common estate planning mistake is not preparing in a way which keeps assets from passing through probate. Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process and can keep funds and property out of reach of those who need them the most. If you take certain steps beforehand, property, bank accounts, and other assets will be immediately accessible to your loved ones rather than being tied up in probate.
Not Planning for a Special Needs Loved One
When you are the parent or loved one of someone with an advanced special need, you can devote a lot of energy into caring for them. In many cases, these efforts will include making sure the individual is qualified for governmental programs which will assist them throughout their lives. However, these programs are income-sensitive and have limitations. Further, without you to help out with his or her expenses, your loved one may have to live on very limited resources. If you don’t plan for your estate carefully, you could end up leaving this person assets which may interfere with his or her program eligibility. The good news is that with special needs trust planning, you can help ensure your loved one has the support they need to live comfortably without endangering their public benefits.
Not Considering Long-Term Care
Not considering how you will pay for long-term care expenses can be a significant issue in estate planning. It comes as a shock to many that Medicare does not cover long-term care expenses such as extensive nursing home or in-home care services. Someone in need of his care will have the option of using a long-term care policy or Medi-Cal to pay for them. However, in order to obtain insurance or qualify for Medi-Cal, there must be adequate planning before the need arises.
Planning for your estate is one of the most important tasks you will complete. For that reason, it is important to prepare with the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney who can help you avoid these and other common mistakes. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are knowledgeable California estate planning attorneys with the experience you need to make informed decisions for the future. Contact us today to schedule your consultation. /Contact.shtml