One famous quote we all heard while growing up was “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, whilst this is true, another quote that should have followed suit should have been “When you don’t plan properly, you wouldn’t get the proper results”. Many people make plans, but the major question is, “how solid are those plans?” Your plan is the foundation to the attainment of your goals and if the foundation is faulty, you might as well expect every other thing to crash.
This logic also applies in estate planning and it is essential for everyone to develop a solid plan for their estates so they don’t encounter unnecessary challenges in the future. Here are 5 common mistakes people make when planning their estates:
1. NOT UNDERSTANDING YOUR ESTATE PLAN:
This happens to be one of the biggest issues in estate planning, this is because a number of folks make financial and other investment decisions without having a thorough understanding of what they are doing. It is great to follow the advice of your financial advisor, however, it’s better to also understand what those advices are to ensure you don’t take any unwarranted or unnecessary risks that might hurt you or your assets. Always make sure you go through the documents thoroughly and feel free to seek counsel from multiple experts in situations where you still don’t understand fully.
“I will do it tomorrow”, almost everyone says that, however, Tomorrow will be today tomorrow and you still keep on saying “I will do it tomorrow” up until it becomes too late. No one can see the future, therefore the best time to do anything is always now. Many people have missed out on great financial opportunities simply because they procrastinated. Always try to make a conscious effort to plan your estate immediately. Want to make an investment? Do it now, Want to write your Will? Do it now, Want to liquidate your investment? Do it now.
3. NOT HAVING A WILL:
Dele bought a new house at Ikoyi with 2 cars and had a fat bank account. One day, on his way back from work, he died in a motor accident. Dele’s wife and kids were then thrown out of the house shortly after. Of all Dele’s possessions, what do you think was missing? A Will. If you can spend money acquiring assets, you might as well use a portion to protect it. No one expects to die soon, but unfortunately death can happen to anyone at anytime, it is therefore of utmost importance to protect your assets and ensure it is rightly distributed according to your wishes when you are no more. Always remember, no estate plan is complete without a Will.
4. NOT UPDATING YOUR WILL:
When you bag a new degree or certification, you hurry to include it in your CV to reflect your knowledge development, if you don’t do that, you might end up being judged based on your previous status, same thing applies to writing a Will, because, having a Will is great, but what happens when your circumstances changes? E.g. change of name, acquisition of new assets, birth or death of a family member or beneficiary, change in final wishes etc. It is always important to ensure that your Will is always updated to reflect the changes happening in life.
5. AMBIGUITY IN FINAL INSTRUCTIONS:
In the hilarious comedy movie “Chief Daddy”, the impact of having a final instruction was well highlighted on the big screen. One question you would ask yourself watching the movie would be “What would have happened if Chief Beecroft didn’t have a Will and final instruction?” While a final instruction might be easily overlooked, the impact it has is totally huge. It ensures people do exactly as instructed on things such as: how they use the assets given to them or how a person would want the burial arrangements to be. It is therefore important to ensure that your final instructions are very detailed to avoid any form of ambiguity and misinterpretation. Make sure all instructions are properly outlined and explained so the beneficiary’s can easily understand and carry them out.
There are obviously a lot of mistakes people can make when planning an estate, however avoiding all 5 of these mistakes mentioned above ensures that your estate plan are steps closer to being well planned.