After one sits down with an attorney to finally craft their estate plan, it can be an incredibly uplifting moment because they know their loved ones will be taken care of after they pass. After all, it is something we all need to do, and in our uncertain times, it has become another weight on most of our minds. But, for the unwary Texan, there are some estate planning “don’ts” that we should all avoid.
Before leaving investments to loved ones, make sure those investments are appropriate. This means ensuring the asset vehicles are doing what one wants them to be doing. For example, cash and bonds have their place, but they can leave money on the table and make one’s portfolio less valuable. Conversely, a portfolio of penny stocks can be even more risky as the value swings day-to-day can be in the double digits. Unless one’s heirs are financial experts, ensuring one’s investment strategy is understandable and appropriate, prior to death, can help ensure this does not add additional panic to an already sad time.
Forgetting to update
Remember, just because one leaves something to someone in a will does not necessarily mean that person will get it. Many financial instruments, like life insurance, bank accounts, investment accounts, etc. have designated beneficiaries or joint account holders that will receive them, regardless of what a will states. This is why it is so important to update these types of accounts to ensure they match one’s wishes expressed in a will. This is particularly important when there is a marital change as an ex-spouse may still be named as a beneficiary on coveted assets.
These, of course, are just two common pitfalls when one is estate planning, and there are many others. This is why it is so important for Bedford residents to meet with an estate planning attorney to craft an individualized estate plan to avoid pitfalls. Of course, there are hundreds of sites online that will give one forms, but paper is not the same as an individualized estate plan.