All Illinois adults should create an estate plan to protect their assets and loved ones. Because everyone is human and no one is perfect, it’s easy to make mistakes. These are some of the most common ones to avoid and that can result in litigation.
Not naming a contingent beneficiary
One of the biggest estate planning mistakes you can make is failing to name a contingent beneficiary. This is a second choice who should be named on your financial documents in the event that your main beneficiary passes away before you. For example, if you were to only name your younger sister as the person to inherit your 401(k) and she dies, you will want someone else to receive your account. However, if you were incapacitated at the time of your sister’s passing, you would be stuck because you didn’t have a second choice named.
Failing to describe how property should be distributed
Nothing leads to squabbling among your surviving heirs like failing to describe how your property should be distributed upon your death. You need to leave instructions in your will and other legal documents so that your wishes are clear. Otherwise, family members can fight over what you intended to leave them and it could lead to estate litigation.
Picking the wrong executor
Choosing an executor to manage your estate after you’re gone is wise, but you must ensure that you pick the right person for the task. If you make a mistake and choose someone who is less than trustworthy, it can lead to complications such as an excessively long probate process or a lawsuit. The wrong person might try to cheat your heirs and help themselves to a portion of your estate.