It is not unusual for individuals to have different views on estate planning. Some parties may immediately consider it beneficial, and others may think it unnecessary or at least a low priority. Of course, even California residents who have created wills and other estate planning documents may not use their plans to full advantage if they make mistakes when naming beneficiaries.
One major issue that could lead to probate issues relates to not naming any beneficiaries at all. Some individuals may feel comfortable letting the court and state law dictate which surviving relatives receive what. However, not making designations could lead to drawn-out legal proceedings, and surviving loved ones could face conflict and contention over assets. Additionally, even if a person did have specific individuals in mind for bequests, if those ideas are not documented, they cannot be known in court.
Another issue that could arise relates to not updating estate plans. If parties made wills and named beneficiaries, they have taken useful first steps. However, if they do not look at their plans again, they could risk having outdated beneficiaries. This could mean that a deceased person is still named in the will or that a newer family member was left out.
Wills can play a major role in estate planning, and because of their importance, California residents may want to give these documents the attention they deserve. Keeping estate plans in mind even after their creation could help individuals avoid creating unnecessary hardships for their loved ones later on. Parties interested in creating or updating estate plans may wish to look into their legal options.
Source: wtop.com, "7 common mistakes to avoid when naming your beneficiaries", Nina Mitchell, Feb. 21, 2018