Estate plans can cover a wide variety of matters, including writing a will, establishing a power of attorney and creating an advance medical directive. Given all the activities involved in estate planning, it is easy to neglect or fail to implement certain parts of your estate plan. A review of your estate preparations may be in order.
You may wonder where to start looking for possible oversights. Kiplinger explains some common gaps that people leave in their estate plans.
Failing to name people to receive items
A general statement in your will that says your children will get your possessions leaves some room for conflict. While it is simple enough to equally divide up money in a checking account, a single heirloom can only go to one individual. If you do not want your family to fight over who gets a piece of furniture or a painting, consider talking with your children about who should get a specific possession so you can describe your wishes in your will.
Not making beneficiary designations
Some people do not think to name a beneficiary on a retirement account or an insurance policy. However, you could benefit your family by naming them as beneficiaries. The assets in your policies and accounts will go directly to the designated beneficiaries and not become a part of your estate where they could become caught up in probate delays.
Not checking estate plans after moving
People who have moved to New York from another state should give their estate plans a thorough review and update if necessary. You want your estate documents to be enforceable under the laws of New York. For instance, you may have created a medical power of attorney in another state, but a New York judge might not consider it valid.
A review of your estate plans after major life events could also be of help. You may need to add a backup executor to your will. You could also designate backup beneficiaries in case one of your heirs dies before you do. Moves like these can help you realize your estate plans as you intend.