Delaware residents who wish to “get their affairs in order” need to take certain steps to ensure that their wishes are followed. Estate planning in and of itself does help, but if mistakes are made, it could undo the efforts. In order to help ensure that everything goes according to plan when the time comes, it may help to keep the following in mind.

Estate planning is not a “one and done” activity. As changes occur in life and a Delaware resident ages, changes and modifications to the plan may be necessary. Periodically reviewing the documents in light of any life changes can help make sure that a person’s wishes are current and honored.

Despite what a last will and testament may indicate, any beneficiary designations take precedence. Failing to review these documents could result in the proceeds from a certain account such as a retirement fund or life insurance policy could end up with someone that the individual never intended. The same could be said for property that is not properly titled. For instance, if a person owns a house and wants his or her spouse to inherit it upon death, the title may need to be changed in order to make that happen.

These are just some of the steps in estate planning that provide the individual and his or her family with peace of mind. A crucial mistake during the process could leave surviving family members with a mess that could lead to a time-consuming and costly probate process. Instead, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney in order to increase the likelihood that everything will proceed as intended after death.

Source: wmur.com, “Money Matters: Estate planning mistakes“, Marc Hebert, Dec. 28, 2017