Top Mistakes Made in Estate Planning

Nov 11, 2012

Estate planning and probate is a very detailed and difficult process. Though an estate planning attorney will know the steps necessary to carry out a Will and Trust, there are several common mistakes that estate planning attorneys and individuals often make. Before you finalize anything, make sure that you or your estate planning attorney has not made any of these common mistakes, so that you can rest assured your wishes for your estate will be carried out properly.


One of the most common mistakes made by estate planning lawyers is not using a Bypass Trust. This trust allows $5 million to be tax-free and exempt from the IRS. If a person does not use the Bypass Trust, all funds will be taxed, even those that should be exempt.

Another common mistake made during estate planning process is neglecting to complete deeds, beneficiary statements, or change of ownership documents. Since a living trust is subject to probate, property and assets can still be distributed as the court sees fit unless the proper deeds and documentation are provided.


Some individuals make the common mistake during estate planning of selecting an inappropriate executor for the estate. Though most people automatically choose their oldest child for this role, it does not mean the oldest child is the right option. The person in charge of your estate should be responsible, mature, and well-organized – even if that means your executor is your niece or a step-child.


Take advantage of your estate planning attorney’s knowledge and experience as you go through this process. A qualified and responsible estate planning attorney will ensure all of your assets are properly distributed, your executor is fit for the responsibility, and your documents are in order. That means you can rest assured that your estate will be managed according to your wishes.

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