You may think have a well-rounded estate plan that includes a will and a trust, along with other common estate planning documents. However, it is important not to make mistakes after these documents are drafted that could make them defunct. The following are three common mistakes that can derail your estate plan.
You dispose of assets that are included in your will
It is tempting to make gifts during your lifetime to loved ones, and gifting can certainly be done in a way that benefits you and your loved one. However, you do not want to give away, sell or otherwise lose an asset that you include in your will to go to a specific person as their inheritance. After all, you cannot give away what you do not have at the time of your death.
You do not fund your trust
Part of the appeal of a trust is that it is a way to manage your assets and ultimately bypass probate when you pass on. However, a trust must be funded in order to be effective. This means titling assets in the name of the trust. An unfunded trust has nothing in it to give beneficiaries upon your death.
Failing to account for non-probated assets in your will
Not every asset is subject to probate. For example, some financial accounts, life insurance policies and retirement accounts will pass on to the named beneficiaries, avoiding probate altogether. However, you need to account for these assets when executing your will. Do not include them in your will as part of your estate, because a will must be probated and some of these assets cannot be probated. Also remember that debts, taxes and other expenses need to be paid out of your estate, reducing the amount of assets you have to pass on in your will.
Do not derail a well-drafted will
It is easy to undo what your intentions are in your will, especially if you executed the will on your own. A do-it-yourself will often has mistakes and may not be enforceable in California when the time comes, especially if mistakes were made after its execution. With the right help you can execute an estate plan that meets your wishes and is enforceable when the time comes.