Estate planning attorneys sometimes speak with people that are looking for damage control solutions because deceased family members made mistakes. These situations are frustrating, because the negative circumstances could have been easily avoided.
With this in mind, we are going to look at a handful of the costly mistakes that people make in an effort to raise awareness.
Depending on the State
Some people do not prioritize estate planning because they assume that the government will step in to make sure their assets are distributed. There are intestate succession laws here in the state of South Carolina, and intestate estate cases are handled by the probate court.
The assets may not be distributed in accordance with the true wishes of the decedent when the intestate succession statutes are followed. For example, if you have no surviving spouse or children, your parents would be the sole inheritors.
Let’s say that your mother is gone, and your father is still living, but you have been estranged from him for years. You have one brother, and you are very close with him and his family.
If you pass away intestate, your father would inherit your entire estate, and your brother would get nothing. This is one example, but there are many scenarios that would lead to unintentional disinheritances.
There is no reason to roll the dice with intestacy when qualified legal assistance is just a phone call away.
DIY Estate Planning
The websites that sell generic, boilerplate legal documents contend that you do not need qualified legal assistance to plan your state. You just fill in the blanks on a download and you can put the matter behind you once and for all.
Most people think that they should use a will, but there are many reasons why a trust can be a better choice. How can you make the right decisions if you don’t discuss your options with a licensed attorney?
There is also the matter of proper execution. All states have different laws, and there are steps that must be taken to execute legally binding documents. We would assume that the document providers take this into account, but you should be absolutely certain that you are doing everything correctly.
A number of years ago the highly respected publication and website Consumer Reports put this subject under the microscope. They created do-it-yourself wills using tools that they obtained from three of the leading legal document providers.
Three legal professors were engaged to examine the wills, and they found flaws. They stated that unintended negative consequences can come about when inexperienced people use these worksheets and downloads.
Ultimately, Consumer Reports advised their readers to steer clear of DIY estate planning solutions unless the situation is extremely simple and straightforward.
Failure to Address Nursing Home Costs
To put it bluntly, you don’t have to worry about the details if you have nothing to pass along to your loved ones. If you do not prepare for potential nursing home costs, your legacy may wind up in the coffers of a long-term care facility.
Most seniors will need some form of living assistance, and just over one third of elders will reside in nursing homes. You can expect to pay about a hundred thousand dollars for a year in a nursing home in our area right now, and the expenses can be doubled for married couples.
Medicaid will pay for long-term care, and you can gain eligibility if you fund an irrevocable trust at least five years before you apply for coverage.
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You can avoid these errors if you work with our firm to put a professionally prepared estate plan in place. If you are ready to get started, we can be reached by phone at 843-815-8580, and there is a contact form on this site you can use to send us a message.