Estate planning is one of the topics that sometimes comes up within a family. Family discussions on this topic can be quite fruitful, helping families sort out issues that could potentially lead to ugly disputes later if left unaddressed. However, there are also pitfalls to avoid when it comes to such conversations.
One is such conversations going badly. In a past post, we went over some of the things individuals can do when having estate-planning-related discussions with family over the holidays to help keep such conversations on the right track.
Another pitfall that a person could fall into is allowing such conversations to become their main source of advice for the technical aspects of their estate plan.
In estate-planning-related conversations, family members sometimes offer advice on a wide range of estate planning specifics, such as how to set up a will. While such family members likely mean well, relying on this sort of advice rather than going to professionals for estate planning guidance could be setting a person up for some unpleasant surprises.
Estate plans can be very complex things and can have all manner of different rules and details attached to them. Thus, in such plans, even little mistakes could have significant repercussions. Relying on advice that is not backed by the right experience and knowledge could lead a person into these sorts of impactful mistakes.
This is why seeking out professional advice, such as the advice of an estate planning lawyer, rather than relying on family advice, is so important when it comes to estate planning.
Source: WMUR, "Money Matters: Common estate planning mistakes," Marc Hebert, Dec. 10, 2015