When we plan our estate, there are goals. Of course, it has our end-of-life wishes, but it also includes who we want to get what, along with many other issues, like guardianships. However, there are some pitfalls that we can encounter after we effectuate a plan.
For those with minor children, guardianships are a huge piece of our estate plan. The guardian is the person we select to take care of our children. Choosing a guardian is a deeply personal journey that every parent must undergo. Who do we trust to raise our kids? However, while many of us are looking for that perfect parental replacement, we should be looking for multiple parental replacements. This is because, while the person we select may be a perfect match, anything can change. And, if they do change their mind, our kids could end up in foster care. This is why it is always advisable to have two or more back-up guardians.
Bequests to kids, grandkids, great grandkids, etc.
Another complicated issue can arise when we try to percentage out our estate to everyone, including multigenerational bequests, like kids, grandkids, great grandkids, great-great grandkids, etc. Issues of legality can arise, especially if those heirs do not materialize. There are ways to accomplish these goals, like through a trust, but an experienced estate planning attorney is usually needed to create more complicated estate plans that include trusts.
Another post estate planning pothole that people can fall into is issues that relate to the family home. Specifically, who gets it if multiple people have interests and there is a spouse and/or a kid still living in the home when one passes.
For example, if one of our kids is acting as a caregiver, depending on the amount of time they have been in the home, they may have some tenant rights, along with whatever is stated in the will. This is why it is so important to discuss this before estate planning, and update the estate plan as needed. Perhaps, one child earns a full stake because they cared for a parent and did significant improvements. Or, a grandkid needs it as a new family home, and they can pay for it through rent or buying out an interest from the other heirs. These are all solvable problems, but they must be handled proactively, prior to our Golden, Colorado, death.