Having a comprehensive estate plan is key to ensuring that your wishes become a reality in the future. To this end, it is essential to understand many of the common complications with estate planning that may arise. If you do not recognize the problematic factors and take action to craft a solid estate plan, you might leave your nominated heirs without property or create confusion among surviving family members in the future. For instance, problems with beneficiaries, intestacy laws, and assets can all complicate an estate plan and probate.
The simplest way to avoid issues is to plan for them from the beginning and draft estate plans that transparently resolve these concerns. A dedicated estates attorney could help explain common issues with estate planning in O’Fallon and craft plans that take these potential complications into account.
Choosing the Right Beneficiaries
The main purpose of an estate plan is to ensure that one’s property moves to the intended heirs at the proper time. For the most part, an estate planner is able to nominate any person to be a beneficiary. However, selecting a problematic beneficiary may give rise to unexpected complications that could limit the effectiveness of an estate plan.
For instance, an estate planner might run into issues if they name someone who is currently a minor as a beneficiary. According to state law, children cannot directly inherit property above a certain value. If a testator passes away and their child becomes an heir before coming of age, the property in question might need to wait in a trust until the child is able to claim it.
Similarly, selecting beneficiaries without care can impact the tax liability of an estate. As a result, choosing the right people or organizations in O’Fallon as beneficiaries can help maximize the value of an estate and keep assets free from unnecessary issues like tax liability.
The Impact of Intestacy Laws on Estate Planning
When most people craft their wills, they use the document as a tool to move property after their death. However, the law also establishes the will as a way to override the state’s laws concerning intestacy. The state’s intestacy laws, present in Missouri Revised Statute § 474.010, explain what will happen to someone’s property if they die without a will.
Even if an individual has a will, intestacy laws may still come into play. For instance, if a court invalidates a will or the document does not mention specific assets possessed by the decedent, intestacy laws might apply to an estate. Because of this, it is important to work with a dedicated O’Fallon lawyer and prevent issues with the intestacy framework from impacting an estate plan.
What Happens If an Estate Plan Lacks Specificity?
One thing that all estate plans should have in common is specificity. With the purpose of an estate plan being to provide assets to other parties, it stands to reason that the best plans will clearly identify those parties and properties. Because many estate plans aim to limit the scope and influence of probate, having a will and other testamentary documents that mention assets and heirs with specificity can serve to shorten this process.
Similar concepts apply to trusts and other forms of estate planning documents. Providing as much detail as possible increases the legal power of these documents and limits the ability of others to question their authenticity.
If an estate planner does not outline the desired destination of all their assets and property transparently, the probate court might have a difficult time validating a will and distributing the estate. Probate could become longer and more convoluted. Thankfully, a proactive O’Fallon attorney recognizes the potential for estate planning setbacks and can help a testator make their documents as specific as possible.
Work with an Attorney to Recognize the Common Issues with Estate Planning in O’Fallon
An estate plan is the only way to ensure that your property moves to your heirs after your death. Drafting estate documents is an important process, and there are many issues with estate planning in O’Fallon that could arise. Recognizing these potential complications and drafting documents in a way that avoids them benefits both estate planners and their beneficiaries. Talk with an attorney today to begin the process of crafting a solid estate plan.