Sometimes, estate planning is simple. More often than not, however, estate planning is a complex process with significant complications. Regardless of the complexity behind your estate plan, it is a good idea to review your goals and make sure that you have adequate documents in place. There are some common (and potentially costly) errors that everyone should avoid during the estate planning process because they can jeopardizing your goals.

Appointing a Loved One as an Executor

An executor is the person responsible for administering your estate after you have passed away. While it can be tempting to name a friend or family member as an executor, you must appoint someone who can perform this role satisfactorily and reliably. Many times, people close to us are too overcome with grief to appropriately focus on the task at hand. Conflicts can also arise among friends and family members when one of them is asked to function as executor.

Listening to Family and Friends

You should make sure that the person with whom you discuss your estate planning goals is an expert in the area. Many people, however, are influenced by the advice they receive from family or friends on how to structure their estate or how to best achieve estate planning goals. Estate planning is a highly nuanced area of law. This is why it is critical to obtain advice from a professional who has received extensive training in the areas of estate planning, tax law, trusts, and probate. Following the wrong advice or inappropriately structuring your estate plan can lead to undesirable consequences for you and your beneficiaries.

Maximizing Your Marital Estate Exemption

Portability is an estate planning concept that refers to the ability to transfer an unused portion to a surviving spouse. Each person is allowed an $11.7 million federal estate tax exemption in 2021. If one spouse passes away without using up the entirety of the $11.7 million, the unused portion can be transferred to the other spouse at the time of the first spouse’s death. The concept of portability does not include asset appreciation, however. 

Not Planning Sufficiently 

While most people understand the importance of creating an estate plan, statistics show that a large number of people in Oklahoma do not have an estate plan in place. If you pass away without a will, your assets will be divided based on Oklahoma intestacy law, which will not take need or any other unique family issues into consideration. Estate planning goals help to achieve various goals including reducing estate taxes, preserving privacy, speeding up the process, and countless other benefits. 

Not Obtaining the Assistance of an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

One of the best ways to avoid making any type of estate planning errors is to obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.