Mistake 1: Never giving it any thought. A lot of people don’t have any kind of estate plan because they assume that they either don’t need one or that they don’t have enough property for an estate plan to be cost effective. Even if this is true, your property isn’t the only issue your estate plan covers. It also encompasses your medical care should you get sick or injured, something everyone may one day face.
Mistake 2: Doing it yourself. While some self-help aids and DIY materials are useful, they are not a substitute for the advice of a good lawyer. A good self-help guide can get you started, but only a lawyer will be able to give you personal advice about not only what you can do, but also what a person in your situation should do.
Mistake 3: Letting your plan atrophy. A good estate plan is like a machine, you have to keep it maintained and inspected regularly to keep it in top shape. Don’t fall into the trap of creating an estate plan and then think that all your work is finished. You’ll want to regularly review and modify your plan to get the most benefit from it.
Mistake 4: Not giving gifts now. One easy way to avoid estate taxes is to make gifts of your property while you are still alive. A properly structured estate plan can allow you to give gifts now and enjoy the feeling of knowing you’ve made other people happy.