Planning for the future involves thinking about events that could happen and those that will definitely happen, like one’s death. Most people don’t like to ponder these issues, yet it’s crucial for most Texas residents to prepare for them. Putting off estate planning can not only prove to be costly for a particular individual, but also for his or her family. Not considering estate planning at all is one of the most common errors many people make when it comes to long-term financial, health care and legal planning.
Sidestepping common mistakes
An estate plan should be free from errors and adhere to the laws that govern them. Even a small mistake can lead to issues when it comes time to settle the estate or to act on certain medical initiatives. An estate plan should also be revisited every three years or so to make sure it’s current. Not being totally transparent when it comes to important issues like health care, in case of an accident or incapacity when a testator can’t make his or her own decisions, can create undue hardship for family members who might have to make important choices on a loved one’s behalf.
Things to avoid
Here are some common mistakes that should be avoided during the estate planning process:
- Failing to have an estate plan at all
- Leaving out plans for long-term health care needs, including nursing care
- Overlooking the need for and importance of updating plans as life changes; for instance, after marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, among others
- Not factoring in possible income tax penalties from estate planning decisions
Any of these faux pas in the estate planning process can be easily avoided. When a Texas testator understands how he or she may be able to protect his or her future interests when creating a plan, it may be easier on family members. A comprehensive estate plan not only gives peace of mind to the testator, but to loved ones as well.