Protecting your estate may take many forms, depending on your particular needs and the goals that you prioritize. However, some pieces of wisdom apply to anyone creating or maintaining an estate plan.
If it's been some time since you revisited your estate plan, or if you're considering making your first plan soon, be sure to take time to research just what tools are available. You may find that you have more options than you realize.
Of course, you also want to make sure that you do not leave your estate unnecessarily vulnerable. In most cases, it is easiest and most effective to create an excellent estate plan with the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney who understands the complexity of the laws that govern estate planning and can protect your rights and estate.
Don't set it and forget it
One of the most common mistakes people make in estate planning is failing to review their estate plans regularly. Many life changes may make it necessary to update some aspect of the estate plan, or laws may change that affect the benefits and protections of the tools you use within the plan.
Like a will, it is unwise to go more than three or four years without reviewing your estate plan. Even if nothing needs updating, you want to regularly evaluate the performance of your trustees and other members of your team to ensure that each person is meeting your expectations and properly upholding his or her duties.
Don't settle for amateur estate planning
To those who do not practice estate planning professionally, the process may seem low risk and simple, aside from the paperwork. However, estate planning laws are remarkably complex and many factors may contribute to the complexity of your estate plan that you may not actually realize.
It is not wise to attempt to create an estate plan without professional guidance, even though it is possible to do. In far too many cases, nonprofessional estate planners simply don't know what they don't know, and do not realize the risks they may assume or the benefits they may miss.
If you are ready to build an estate plan, be sure to reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney in your area. With professional guidance you can evaluate your options and choose estate planning tools that truly fit your needs, and continue to monitor and adjust the plan as your goals strengthen or shift over time.