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Tips for avoiding common estate planning mistakes

One common error people in Nevada might make regarding an estate plan is having one that family members cannot access. People may encrypt an estate plan on a computer or place it in a safe deposit box. An attorney may be able to help a person plan how to best store the estate plan that allows for both security and necessary access.

Another common error is overlooking beneficiary designations. Such assets as life insurance policies and retirement accounts are commonly passed using beneficiary designations instead of a will or a trust, and these should not be overlooked as part of the overall estate plan.

People who create a trust should make sure they fund it and title assets correctly. If this is not done, the family may still have to go through the probate process with all the assets. While estate planning is a confidential process, people may want to share their results with family members. This can help make their wishes clear and help a family understand why certain decisions were made. However, people should keep in mind that the estate plan should not be static. Circumstances in a person's life or family's life may change. This can include a change in assets or the birth, death, marriage, or divorce of family members. Estate plans should be updated accordingly.

A person who is using a trust as part of the estate plan may want to think about the purpose of the trust and discuss it with an attorney. Trusts can be designed for very different purposes. For example, a special needs trust can allow a family member who receives government benefits for a disability to remain eligible for those benefits since the assets remain the property of the trust. A trust created to benefit a charity or for other purposes will be designed differently.

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