Your estate plan will likely be among the most important set of legal documents you create and execute over the course of your lifetime. When properly drafted, an estate plan can not only create the framework for the distribution of your estate assets when you are gone, but protect and grow those assets during your lifetime as well as ensure that loved ones are provided for in the event that something happens to you. To help ensure that your estate plan is a success, the Lincolnshire estate planning attorneys at Hedeker Law, Ltd. have created the following list of common mistakes to avoid.
- Going the DIY route. In today’s electronic age it can be very tempting to rely on fill-in-the-blank legal documents you find on the internet under the mistaken belief that doing so will save you time and money. More often than not, going the DIY route ends up costing loved ones considerably more time and money than you saved because those DIY forms are riddled with errors and omissions that lead to litigation during the probate process.
- Failing to consider incapacity. Everyone thinks to plan for their eventual death when they create an estate plan; however, given the odds of becoming incapacity it is important to plan for that possibility as well. If you were to become incapacitated tomorrow as the result of a debilitating illness or tragic accident, who would take over control of your assets? Who would make personal and healthcare decisions for you? Unless you include incapacity planning in your estate plan, a judge may be making those decisions for you.
- Waiting too long to consider the need for Medicaid eligibility. Over half of all seniors in nursing homes rely on Medicaid to help cover the high cost of long-term care (LTC) because neither Medicare nor most basic health insurance policies will pay for LTC expenses. If you fail to include Medicaid planning in your estate plan early enough, however, you could put your assets at risk when you try and qualify for Medicaid.
- Failing to integrate your retirement plan with your estate plan. You probably already have at least a rudimentary retirement plan in place. Because the two are inter-related, and may even overlap at some point in the future, it is imperative that you integrate your retirement plan into your estate plan. Typically, the also requires consulting with your financial advisor and your estate planning attorney at the same time to ensure that one plan does not create problems for the other and to ensure that you get the most out of both plans.
- Leaving funeral planning to loved ones. No one really likes to contemplate their own death and subsequent funeral and burial; however, if you fail to plan for it yourself, your loved ones will have to do so immediately following your death when they are grieving your loss. As a result, your wishes may not be honored and your loved ones may fall victim to salespeople who prey on grieving family members who are not paying attention to the costs of the funeral they are planning.
- Failing to consider the tax consequences of your death. Every estate is potentially subject to federal gift and estate taxation at the rate of 40 percent. In addition, the State of Illinois imposes its own estate tax for estates that qualify. Failing to plan for the tax implications of your death could result in the loss of a significant portion of your estate assets when you die. Since you will be gone, your loved ones are the ones who will suffer.
Contact Lincolnshire Probate Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the creation of your comprehensive estate plan, contact the experienced Lincolnshire estate planning and probate attorneys at Hedeker Law, Ltd. by calling (847) 913-5415 to schedule an appointment.