What Prompts Someone To Actually Do An Estate Plan?
Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to create an estate plan until they are facing a major surgery or their health has deteriorated to the point that they are fearing that death is close at hand. Even more unfortunately, people who have reached this point in life often have challenges that they would not have had had they started a little earlier. Their mind can be affected by stress and may be affected by the disease process. Sometimes, far too often, no one contacts me until the person who most needs the estate plan is hospitalized.
On occasion, we can still create an estate plan for someone in this situation but often they will have waited too late. Fortunately, since you are reading this, I know that you are in the top 5% of people and are not going to wait until you have lost your ability to make a binding plan. Do not wait until your health has deteriorated, your mind is stressed, and your body is weak before you take on a task that requires your full concentration in your greatest wisdom. Do this while you can do it thoughtfully and without being under stress. This is how you will end up with the most successful plan.
What Are The Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes That People Make?
Many people make no estate plan at all. This is, in my opinion, the single most common estate planning mistake. Just today, a family was in my office telling me that their mother had passed away. Mom left three healthy children and one child who is disabled and receiving benefits from the government. Unfortunately, mom did not plan around the disability of this child whom she knew to be disabled. This means that the disabled child who will inherited a substantial portion of her mother’s estate will now be ineligible to receive the Medicaid assistance that she so desperately needs.
The second most common estate planning mistake is that trustors and testators fail to take into consideration and plan for the known chance that they may become disabled or that their loved ones may become disabled. When one is creating a trust and working with a well-qualified estate planning professional, it is possible to assure that one’s disability does not mean that they must survive the rest of their life penniless and at the mercy of the state. To be most affective, however, these plans must be done well in advance. That does not mean that we cannot help you at all at the last minute, it just means that we could have done more had the plan been done earlier.
We all recognize that there is a reasonable chance that our health will fail us and that we will be in nursing care. We all know that this could also happen to any of our children, but so many of us fail to require our estate plan to be created in such a way that we can have the best lifestyle even if our health does fail us.
The third most common estate planning error is that the estate planning family chooses the wrong people to handle their affairs when they can no longer take care of their own business. Let me give you an example. Your trustee should be someone of impeccable character. The trustee has the potential of stealing everything and wasting it to the detriment of your other loved ones. If you do not have a family member that you trust to hold this position, hire a professional. Do not allow your estate to be wasted. You should also be careful of whom you appoint as your healthcare proxy. If the person you appoint as your healthcare proxy is of such a soft heart that they would not enforce your wishes not to be put on a ventilator, you will not likely receive the outcome that you expected and chose.
Your choice of power of attorney is also very important. This person has the power to sell your car, your house, liquidate your retirement accounts, cash in your life insurance and fly off to the islands to lay on the beach with your money. It has been called the super blank check of estate planning. Be very wise and be very careful who receives this power and be sure to give them written instructions inside this power of attorney so that you will at least have a reasonable chance that the power will not be abused.
For more information on Setting Up An Estate Plan In Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 880-8960 today.
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