Avoid These California Estate Planning Mistakes

Regardless of your income or net worth, one thing’s for certain: you need an estate plan. Even if you aren’t wealthy, chances are you have at least one thing of value that you’d like to pass along to a loved one. Not only can an estate plan help maximize the value of the estate you’ll pass along to your beneficiaries, but it will give you an opportunity to make informed decisions about how your assets are handled during your lifetime.
Despite its importance, however, an estate plan that is drafted hastily and without the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney can be just as harmful as having no estate plan at all. In order to help you begin the estate planning process, we’ve compiled some common California estate planning mistakes below.

Common estate planning mistakes

Failing to draft an estate plan

The number one estate planning mistake is having no estate plan at all. Without a valid estate plan in place, your assets will be passed along according to statutory guidelines—not your wishes.

Failing to plan for disability

An unexpected disability can be devastating, both personally and financially. And if you become disabled or incapacitated without an estate plan, you’ll have no say regarding who will handle your finances, raise your children, or make healthcare decisions on your behalf. However, by planning ahead, you can ensure that your wishes will be fulfilled in these areas should you ever become incapacitated.

Failing to update your will

If you have a valid will in place, you are already ahead of the curve. However, what many people fail to realize is that major life events often require updates to estate planning documents. For example, business changes, divorces, births, deaths, and new property acquisitions all may require changes to one’s will. Therefore, even if you have a will, be sure to review it periodically with your California estate planning attorney.

Failing to choose the right executor

The executor of your estate must be someone you trust. If you don’t put enough thought into your executor decision, your beneficiaries may suffer down the road. In addition, although you may be tempted to choose someone in your immediate family to handle the affairs of your estate, you should consider choosing someone who isn’t personally invested in the outcome. This will ensure that the administration of your estate is handled fairly and objectively.

Failing to consult with an Orange County estate planning attorney

Attempting to create an estate plan without the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney is a huge mistake. Therefore, if you’d like to begin the estate planning process in California, the attorneys at OC Wills and Trust Attorneys are here for you. At OC Wills and Trust Attorneys, our skilled and experienced lawyers will guide you through the estate planning process, leaving you with an estate plan that will protect your assets and save you and your family money. Please contact us today for a consultation.

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.