Most estate planning mistakes can be avoided if people would ask what they should not do instead. A large percentage of messy estate administration cases in probate courts would go away if people would do that.
Market Watch recently discussed some of the things not to do in "7 common estate planning disasters and how to avoid them," including:
Do not pass away without a will. It should be obvious. If you have no estate plan at all, you have made an estate planning mistake. However, this is a common mistake because people think they will live longer than they do and will have time to make plans later.
Do not forget to plan for incapacity. A good estate plan will include documents planning for a time when you can no longer take care of things by yourself.
Do not think you can get a good estate plan by purchasing a form and filling it out. Mistakes made when people do this are costly and time-consuming to fix.
Do not make beneficiary designations on your financial accounts, without considering how those designations fit into your other estate plans.
Do not forget to review your estate plan from time to time to make sure it is still appropriate for your family.
Do not neglect to get a new estate plan, if you get remarried. This is especially important if you have children from a previous relationship.
Do not keep any secrets from your estate planning attorney. Your attorney cannot make proper plans if all relevant information is not disclosed. It can lead to problems in administering your estate.
Reference: Market Watch (April 26, 2018) "7 common estate planning disasters and how to avoid them."