South Carolina residents who are creating estate plans should watch out for several common errors. For example, some estate owners forget to leave information where it can be easily found by executors or beneficiaries. It is best to make a complete list of all assets and their locations. This includes mortgage paperwork, information on bank accounts and paperwork associated with insurance policies. There are also sentimental assets that a person might want to identify. Furthermore, estate owners should not neglect digital assets.
Another common error involves beneficiary designations. Certain types of assets, such as retirement accounts, are passed on by beneficiary designation instead of wills or trusts. Instructions in a will or trust do not override what is on the beneficiary designation. If the beneficiary designation is not completed correctly or is in conflict with other estate planning documents, the assets could end up in probate. This could be costly and time-consuming.
Some people create estate plans and do all of the above correctly, but then they never complete any updates. Families and assets change over the years, and estate plans must be updated to reflect that. One common problem that arises from a failure to do so is an ex-spouse inheriting a person's assets.
There are a number of other errors estate owners might make. One reason a person may want to work with an attorney to develop an estate plan is to reduce the likelihood of mistakes enshrined in a will. Another problem that can arise after a person's death is family disputes. With proper planning and legal assistance, an estate owner can prevent such issues.