Death is an uncomfortable topic, and the result is that there’s a real lack of knowledge surrounding estate planning. But most of the mistakes can be easily rectified: here are some of the common ones, alongside advice for estate planning.
Most people have little knowledge
Passing on your possessions after your death can sometimes feel like something that should be straightforward, but a study by Co-op Legal services found that many people had very little knowledge about estate plans.
Common misconceptions included mistakenly believing that a parent’s possessions will automatically pass to their children without a will; mistakenly thinking that your spouse will automatically receive your possessions without a will; and that people didn’t realise that the Crown can receive your estate without a will.
Commons mistakes and advice on how to avoid them
Putting it off can be understandable. Drafting a will and preparing your affairs for death is hardly a fun use of time. But putting off estate planning can be a major problem if you never sort it out. In this situation, courts will have to decide how to divide your assets and it can turn your family’s bereavement into an even more stressful time. It’s best just to bite the bullet and get your will and executor arranged.
Choosing the wrong trustees
Trustees run the trust that is set up in your will. For this role, you’ll need someone who’s committed and qualified. This person needs to have the time available to oversee your wishes and the skills to arrange them. Make sure you carefully pick someone who is up to the task rather than putting someone in an uncomfortable role which they aren’t suited for.
Forgetting digital assets
More and more of our personal information and assets are to be found online. Prepare for this. If you have online banking, make sure you’re able to pass your details and passwords on to someone. Plus, if you have online investments in cryptocurrency, you’ll need to arrange a way of ensuring that these assets are available to your beneficiaries.
Your mind can easily change over the years as relationships change. Regularly update your will and review it to make sure that it accurately reflects your wishes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to rewrite it constantly, but just browsing it and updating your estate planning every five years or so is a sensible idea.
Planning your estate can feel daunting, but it can also give you peace of mind when everything is in order. By avoiding the mistakes above, you should be able to produce a will that will look after your beneficiaries.