How to Avoid Common Estate Planning Problems

Estate planning is something people often put off until it’s too late. 

We’ve made it our mission at CPMT to help prepare the documents your loved ones will need after your death to ease the process for everyone involved. 

That includes helping you to avoid the most common estate planning mistakes. With the help of our attorneys, including wealth planning experts Claire Mattson and Elise Meyers, we can prevent some unnecessary complications that often accompany poor or incomplete planning.

Understanding Probate and Its Challenges

Probate is a legal process that validates your will and oversees the distribution of your assets. It can be a lengthy and expensive process, causing delays and stress for your beneficiaries. 

Claire shares in our podcast an option for avoiding probate: “A lot of people are concerned about how assets are going to flow without having to go through the probate court…Using a revocable trust is a really great way to do that.” 

A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, is a legal document that allows you to manage your assets during your lifetime and then have them distributed to your beneficiaries upon your death.

Importance of Proper Documentation

Of course, it’s important to keep your original documents in a secure place, but they should also be well-organized and easily accessible in the event of your death or other needs. Misplacing or losing these documents can lead to significant delays and legal challenges. 

Make sure your executor or a trusted family member knows where to find these documents when the time comes. 

Our team at CPMT often encounters situations where clients have lost track of crucial documents, leading to unnecessary complications in the probate process. You can’t be too careful! 

Elise explains, “We sometimes have a copy, and sometimes we don’t… A lot of us make assumptions, saying ‘I think so-and-so has it,’ when that’s not really the case.” 

Planning ahead can save you a lot of time and headaches later on.

Protecting Assets from Creditors

If you have significant debts, your assets could be vulnerable to creditor claims after your death. 

As Claire says in our podcast, “You are gone but your debt remains…If there’s no cash left in the estate to use, the family can be in an awkward position to help take care of things before anything can be distributed.” 

Estate planning techniques like creating trusts or using limited liability companies (LLCs) can help shield your assets from creditors so that your beneficiaries will receive their intended inheritance. 

With wealth planning services, our CPMT attorneys can advise you on the best strategies to protect your assets based on your individual circumstances.

Regularly Updating the Estate Plan

When life events like marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or other significant changes in your financial situation occur, it’s important to update your estate plan accordingly. 

Regularly reviewing and revising your plan ensures it remains relevant, reflects your current wishes, and avoids uncomfortable friction for your loved ones in the event of your death. 

The attorneys at CPMT recommend reviewing your estate plan every few years or whenever a major life event occurs.

Avoid Mistakes with CPMT Family Wealth Planning

Estate planning is often misunderstood, and those misunderstandings can lead to pitfalls with enormous consequences for your loved ones after your death. 

The best way to proactively address your questions and avoid issues is to work with an advisor or attorney to support you in your wealth planning. 

Our excellent team is here to give you the guidance you need for a smooth process. 

Contact us today for legal advice, guidance, and assistance in planning your estate.