Estate Planning Mistakes That Can Lead To Contested Estates

Many Illinois residents may think that estate planning is only for older people who want to pass on assets to their families after they pass away. However, estate planning is about more than that. Proper estate planning services can be used to reduce taxes, obtain healthcare, and protect the assets of younger families.

However, mistakes can be costly if you do not perform estate planning carefully. In the worst circumstances, there could even be a contested estate. Fortunately, most of the estate planning mistakes listed below can be avoided. If you have estate planning questions, our Illinois estate planning attorney at Orlowsky & Wilson can help you.

Not Discussing Your Plans With Family

Many contested estates occur because the surviving family was unaware of their loved ones’ plans. This can lead to unpleasant surprises for family members after you pass on. When people are upset about what they did not receive from an inheritance, they may contest the estate.

For example, if you have decided not to pass on certain assets to a family member, you can avoid problems by discussing this important topic with the relevant family members. While this conversation can be difficult, it can head off a contested estate.

Only Putting One Beneficiary

You may want your real estate investments to only go to one person. If the beneficiary dies before you do, there could be problems. If the first person passes on, this is the next person in line to inherit the asset. Many Illinois estate planning attorneys recommend having more than one contingent beneficiary.

Doing A DIY Will Or Estate Plan

Understandably, some people want to save money on estate planning and writing a will. However, there are many stories online about how someone did a DIY will that is found to be full of mistakes after the person passes away. Those mistakes can lead to the will being unenforceable and possibly contested.

Also, if you go cheap on estate planning and try to do it yourself, there is a good chance someone will have to pay a lawyer later to fix the issues. Therefore, having your estate planning handled by a licensed attorney is always best.

Not Writing A Will Or Making Estate Plans

The worst estate planning mistake is not doing it at all. Attorneys are often surprised by how many people pass away with significant assets and need a will. If that happens, the state of Illinois will decide how your assets will be divided among the eligible beneficiaries. Such an arrangement will rarely work out as you would have liked. This is referred to as dying intestate in Illinois.

Suppose you have a brother and sister who provided most of your care for the last years of your life. You may intend for much of your assets to be inherited by them. But if you do not write a will, the state government must decide who inherits what. For example, it could split your assets among family members you have not talked to in years.

Speak To Our Illinois Estate Planning Attorney Today

Hopefully, you will avoid some of the most common estate planning mistakes after reading this article. However, if you have questions or issues about your estate planning, we are here to help you. Contact our Illinois estate planning attorney at Orlowsky & Wilson today at (847) 325-5559 for assistance.

Updated as of July 2019
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