Many individuals will enter the estate planning process at some point in their lives. By using good strategies and avoiding common pitfalls, an individual can feel confident in asset protection. California residents may choose to transfer assets to their heirs in several ways, but if there is an oversight, the people left behind may face costly and inconvenient legal barriers.
One of the most common mistakes is for the person to die without a will in place. When an individual dies intestate, the surviving family members must adhere to state laws about who will inherit, and the family may have to spend a significant amount of time and money proving that they are related to the deceased person. If there are disabled adults or minor children involved, the lack of a will may cause them to forfeit needed supports and services.
Another place where individuals sometimes make estate planning mistakes is by trying to do the planning themselves. While it is possible to DIY certain estate documents, there is a risk that the document will be struck down as invalid by the courts. The will execution ceremony must be properly performed or it will not be counted as valid, and the efforts to preserve the assets could be lost.
By taking the steps to make a plan for the future of their estate, individuals show their care and concern for family and loved ones left behind. Unfortunately, tactical errors can lead to unintended losses and difficulties. Since the goal is asset protection, in California, many individuals choose to work with an experienced estate planning attorney for guidance in creating their final plans.
Source: marketwatch.com, “7 common estate planning disasters and how to avoid them“, Michael Feinfeld, April 26, 2018