A surprising number of Americans do not have an estate plan in place. Your decision to invest time and resources into creating one could prevent discord and provide continued support even after your death.
Certain strategies will fortify your plan and improve its function and effectiveness. Optimizing your plan takes minimal effort when compared with the outcome your contributions can provide.
Customize your strategy
An estate plan is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Many factors could influence your plan. This might include the following:
- Number of heirs you have
- Number of dependents
- Business ownership
Having a strategy in place prior to your death gives you control over where your assets end up. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, lacking an estate plan means your assets will end up in court. The distribution of your assets will follow probate action, which could take years to finalize.
Update your plan regularly
Arguably one of the biggest estate planning mistakes is forgetting to update your plan. Significant life changes will require you to modify your strategy so it continues to provide optimal support. Circumstances, including the births of children or grandchildren, divorce, death, adoption or a move across state lines, could all interfere with your plan. You will want to make all changes formally to ensure they meet all legal expectations.
Having an estate plan is an excellent start. Customizing it to meet your needs and ensuring you periodically update it will prevent missteps that could render it inoperable. Your diligence can give you and your heirs peace of mind.