Avoiding Common Mistakes with Your Estate Plan
is amazing how unique we all think we are. We can watch other people making the same mistake over and over again and think, “That will never happen to me or to my family. We are different.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if it happens to everyone else, then it may (probably will?) happen to you or to someone you know.
One mistake estate planning attorneys see over and over again is people who leave a lot of assets to family members who have never had money before, or who are too young or inexperienced to use good judgment about the money they inherit. The problem is not giving these family members wealth. The problem is in how it is given.
Time and time again, people leave their less well-off relatives money all at one time, without conditions, stipulations, or guidlienss. Where the heir has little or no experience with money and planning for its use and protection, it is often gone long before it should be.
Acquiring money suddenly not easy to handle for some. A widely publicized example (TV shows have featured it) is people who win big lottery jackpots. After a few years, the money is all gone and the winners are no better off than they were before. There have even been reported cases of lottery jackpot winners filing bankruptcy. The same thing can happen when you leave people lump sums in your estate plan who are not ready for it.
There are ways to leave money to those you love that protect them and the money they inherit. An estate planning attorney can tell you about them and help you decide what the best way is for you and for your family.