When it comes to checking tasks off your financial to-do list, estate planning is probably the last item you’ll get to—if you get around to it at all.
We don’t necessarily blame you. After all, it can be morbid to think about preparing for death, and people often don’t know where to start, so they simply don’t get started.
Case in point: According to legal services site Rocket Lawyer, 64% of Americans don’t have a basic will.
But estate planning shouldn’t fall to the wayside. Because, although it’s nice to think that you can trust everyone to do the right thing, the truth is that if you don’t have your wishes formalized, there may be a debate over what the “right thing” actually is.
“It’s always difficult to predict which families will get along and which will end up in court fighting over mother’s heirloom china,” says Tim White, an attorney with Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge. “Leaving an estate plan with clear instructions is your best defense against family discord.”
Of course, there’s also no shortage of ways in which people can stumble when it comes to making their after-death arrangements. That’s why we rounded up some classic estate planning mistakes that people tend to make, so you’ll know what not to do when it comes to prepping your own estate plan. (more…)