What mistakes make your estate plan messy?

Creating an estate plan is already a monstrous undertaking. It will cost time, money and effort, and you may often end up tripping over unfamiliar legal jargon among other issues. But you can still streamline the process as much as possible.

One way to do this is by avoiding the mistakes that can really make a mess out of your estate plan. The first step is to know what mistakes to keep an eye out for.

Your will and the state of your estate

As Forbes states, many mistakes related to estate planning can create a big mess for family members and loved ones who have to handle the aftermath.

First, you should not rely only on your will. A will is just one part of an estate plan, and it does not include other important aspects like trusts and power of attorney documents. You need all parts for a healthy estate plan.

Next, you should not leave behind a messy estate. This includes both physical assets like property and the items in your home, along with intangible assets like stocks, retirement savings and more. The messier your affairs are, the more work your loved ones will have to do to detangle it all.

Avoiding probate and knowing POA

Third, you should try to avoid probate if possible. Probate is a lengthy and stressful process that often takes years to get through. You can avoid it in some scenarios by doing the right paperwork and having the right documents in place.

Finally, you should not fall into the power of attorney trap. Understand what a power of attorney (POA) can and cannot do. Do not over-rely on it, and do not expect the transfer of power to your chosen agent to go smoothly every time. In fact, many financial institutions now make you jump through hoops to have a POA recognized.
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