Creating an estate plan is an essential step in making sure your loved ones are cared for and your wishes are honored when you pass away. Unfortunately, many people end up making mistakes when creating an estate plan that makes it harder for their loved ones in the long run. While working with an Illinois estate planning lawyer is a great way to make sure you’re avoiding costly mistakes, it’s still helpful if you know which mistakes are most common so you can better avoid making them yourself.

estate planning mistakes

1. Not Reviewing and Updating Your Will Regularly

Your will is something that can and should change over time. As you acquire new property, start making investments, or experience health concerns that impact your loved ones, your will should be updated to reflect those changes. Leaving your will untouched for years at a time puts your estate at risk. Remember, your will outlines your final wishes and if it’s not up to date, the executor of your estate will be forced to rely on the old version, even if it’s not what you wanted before you passed.

2. Thinking a Will Is All You Need

Though a last will and testament is an essential part of your estate plan, it’s far from the only document you need. Most people benefit from naming a power of attorney to handle their finances and/or medical care if they’re unable to make those decisions for themselves. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Your Illinois estate planning lawyer will help you determine the type of estate plan you need and can help you prepare any supporting documents necessary to ensure your wishes are fully enforceable.

3. Not Reviewing Your Beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries will change over time as well. And if you don’t review the people you currently have designated as your heirs, you risk leaving someone out of your will. Unless you provide clear directions to include them, your assets will go to the people you previously identified as your heirs. While you may not need to review your beneficiaries yearly, you should review them anytime your lifestyle or your situation changes. For example, if you get married or have a child, you’ll likely want to update your will to include your spouse and child as beneficiaries.

4. Not Incorporating All Assets Into Your Plan

Estates are no longer made up of nothing more than physical goods and items. They’re also comprised of digital assets like investments, cryptocurrency holdings, and social media accounts. These digital assets and non-tangible assets need to be a part of your estate plan. If you don’t include them, your loved ones may have a hard time accessing them.

Avoid These Mistakes in Your Estate Planning Journey

These are just a few of the most common estate planning mistakes you’ll want to avoid making. While it’s important to be diligent and do your own research, working with an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney can take some of the stress and worry out of making sure your estate plan works for your current and future goals. At Legacy & Life Law Firm, we’re here to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and give your estate plan the TLC it deserves.