Because estate plans hold such importance, you may find yourself among the many people who fear making mistakes with these plans. Unfortunately, estate planning errors are not uncommon, but with the right information and assistance, you could greatly cut down on the chances of your plans having any major mistakes.
If you have not yet begun the planning process, you may think that creating a will is a good place to start. You are not incorrect in this notion, but you may want to remember that relying solely on a will could be an estate planning mistake in itself. Depending on the exact details of your estate, you may need to utilize additional tools.
Going beyond a will
A major reason that only using a will in your estate plan could prove detrimental is that you likely have assets that do not need addressing in your will. Your life insurance policies, any jointly-owned property, bank accounts and retirement accounts should have the option of adding a payable-on-death beneficiary or other options for direct distribution. If you do not add beneficiaries to these accounts or attempt to name another person in your will to inherit these accounts, you could create an unnecessary conflict of information.
A trust may also be of interest to you if you want to add certain stipulations to how your heirs should use certain assets or if you do not want those assets to go through the probate process. This planning tool could also help protect property in the event that any claims come against the estate.
Consider your health
Another reason that a simple will may not cover your needs is that this document does not handle your health care wishes. If you would like to have a say in how family members and medical professionals should handle your end-of-life care in the event that you become incapacitated, having other planning tools in place, like an advance health care directive, could help ensure that others know how you want your care addressed.
To understand the exact tools that could most benefit your estate, you may want to explore the various options available to you. You may find that making a comprehensive plan could help you ensure that your affairs remain in order. Additionally, you could discuss your specific desires, ask about possible planning routes and gain further insight by consulting with an Arizona estate planning attorney.