Top Five Estate Planning Blind Spots

Estate planning does not have to be complex, but it’s also not naturally the simplest of processes. As a group of Houston estate planning attorneys, we see some of the same issues again and again in the ways our clients (and the broader public) think about estate planning. Today, we review what we have noticed as the top five estate planning blind spots.

1. People don’t think they need estate planning documents.

We often hear from clients that they don’t think they need estate planning documents, since they have not accumulated significant wealth, don’t have high incomes, or maybe just have what they consider to be very simple property and assets. Even if this is the case, it is still important to speak with an estate planning attorney and draft a will that protects your loved ones in the future. Everyone, regardless of income level, has to think about how their assets will pass through probate, and it’s important to get an early start so you can make sure you have the best plan for yourself and your family.

2. Individuals assume all estate plans are cookie cutter.

For individuals that want to pass all of their assets to one person, or that have simple and small estates, it is tempting to think that “one size fits all” when it comes to estate planning. However, this can be a dangerous mindset. Every person’s estate plan will necessarily be a bit different, and you put yourself at risk of impeding the probate process if you do not come up with a plan that accounts for your individualized circumstances.

3. People fail to ensure their estate plans have the necessary checks and balances.

When individuals draft an estate plan, they will likely be giving a person (or multiple people) significant power. It is therefore important to create checks and balances within your estate plan – for example, you should ensure that other interested parties have legal standing, just in case an estate executor abuses his or her power when probating your estate plan.

4. Clients fail to include trusted individuals in their plans to step in when their capacity is diminished.

Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that our health will decline over time. Even the most savvy and sharp individuals’ capacities will diminish at some point; it is therefore important to involve trusted individuals in your estate plan so that these individuals can identify the point at which your capacity is diminished, and you need someone to step in and help you make important decisions.

5. Adults do not plan for future nursing home payments.

Most of us will likely end up in a nursing home in the future, and nursing homes are incredibly expensive. There are three general payment options for a nursing home – you can pay privately, through health insurance, or through qualifying for Medicaid. It is crucial to start planning now for this financial hurdle, in order to set yourself up for success in later life.

Are You Looking for a Houston Estate Planning Attorney for You or Your Family?

If you are in need of a Houston estate planning attorney, contact McCulloch & Miller for a consultation today. Our team of attorneys specializes in making the estate planning process simpler for you and your family, and we are well-positioned to make sure you have all the tools you need to craft a successful estate plan. For your consultation with a trusted attorney, call us today at 713-597-7176. You can also fill out our online form to have an attorney reach back out to you as soon as possible.

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