Mistake 1: Shutting down. Estate planning can be complicated. It can involve new words or concepts that aren’t easy to grasp. Because of this, many people have the urge to shut down mentally when they start the estate planning process. They just want to hand everything to their attorney so he or she can handle it and tell them what to do.
When you’re talking about or reading about your estate plan and you find your mind wandering or you find yourself simply nodding along without really grasping what is going on, take a moment to stop and ask questions or to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. A good attorney should be able to guide you through the process and make sure you understand what is going on, but sometimes you’ll need to speak up and ask for more simplified or detailed explanations.
Mistake 2: Ignoring your Will. If you’ve created an estate plan that allows most, if not all, of your property to pass outside of probate, you may be tempted to forget about the terms of your Will since they won’t apply to much of your property anyway. Resist this urge. While you can often ensure that your property won’t have to go through probate, there’s always a chance that you’ve left something out or that you acquire property you don’t re-title before you die. Your Will is a cornerstone of your estate plan, and you should always take the time to review and update it regularly.