There are things in life that should always be tailor-made. You wouldn’t use a form fillable template to plan your wedding. You wouldn’t decorate your home with a ready-made kit. And you shouldn’t build your estate plan using a DIY service. The reason is that each of these is a deeply personal task that should reflect your unique needs and individual circumstances. In the case of estate planning, this is doubly true as oversights are not simply in bad taste but may carry catastrophic consequences for your loved ones after you die.
Common Estate Planning Mistakes A Professional Can Help You Avoid
An experienced estate planning attorney does not just guide you through filling out the documents required of an estate plan. They get you thinking about situations and circumstances you may not otherwise be thinking about and bring your family’s specific needs and complexities into view so that you don’t end up doing more harm than good when organizing your affairs. Common oversights that professional estate planners regularly catch include the following.
1. Failure to Protect Loved Ones with Special Needs
Those with special needs children or loved ones often worry about how to ensure care is maintained after they die. Despite best intentions, estate planning done in the interest of providing life-long financial security can easily backfire. If an inheritance is improperly delivered a special needs child may lose access to essential public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid due to an excess of assets in their name. Fortunately, an experienced estate planning attorney can walk you through avenues that avoid this tragic outcome while at the same time ensuring your loved one is taken care of long after you’re gone.
2. Overlooking Contingency Planning for Struggling Beneficiaries
Many of us have experienced the tragedy of seeing a beloved friend or family member struggle with addiction or money management issues. Bearing witness to the downward spiral that often accompanies such difficulties is heartbreaking to say the least. While often there is little we can do, estate planning offers tools that may have a positive impact. If you wish to provide for a loved one but worry about their ability to safely manage an inheritance, a trust that controls the amount and conditions upon which they receive distributions is a powerful resource. Once more, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you find an option that suits your specific needs.
3. Failure to Protect Your Own Access to Long-Term Care
Few individuals can afford the high costs of long-term care without spending their hard-earned life savings. Luckily, programs like Medicaid exist to relieve the burden, but only if you meet the asset and income restrictions required to qualify. Careless estate planning can make it difficult and expensive—if not impossible—to gain approval for benefits when you need them which can carry dire financial and health consequences. All of this can be avoided with foresight and professional guidance.
To learn more about the intricacies of estate planning or to speak to an experienced attorney who can trigger those “ah-ha!” moments related to your own personal circumstances, do not hesitate to reach out to the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia either by calling 770-822-2723 or contacting us through our website.
Contact Attorney James M. Miskell