Atlanta Estate Planning, Wills & Probate | Siedentopf Law

Common Mistakes In The Estate Planning Process

common mistakes in estate planning process

I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an estate planning attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. Let’s discuss some common mistakes people make with their estate planning process.

The first mistake is just assuming that you need a will.

There are a whole bunch of other things that go along with estate planning, otherwise, we would call it will planning, but power of attorney, advanced directive for health care, and potentially avoiding probate through trusts. There are a lot of different options that should be considered, and even if you are thinking about basic options, we want some incapacity planning in there. So more than just a will.

Another big mistake people make in the estate planning process is the misconception that a durable power of attorney outlasts someone and that you don’t need a will, and don’t need other things, because you’ve got the durable power of attorney.

Durable only refers to the ability to continue after the person is no longer mentally competent. Powers of attorney end when the person passes away, so they will not help with estate planning following a passing.

Another big mistake people make with the estate planning process is not funding your trust. You’ve done a great job and you’ve set up a trust. You need to put some stuff in it. Trust only owns what you have put in them. There’s usually a paper trail associated with that. So if the trust is not funded, this is a giant mistake. Around that is not understanding your plan, which I think is part of the reason that a lot of trusts don’t get funded. If you don’t understand what you did and how it is supposed to work, how are you supposed to keep it up to date? We also do want to either make changes or at least review things.

Don’t leave your plan for 20 years without having made any changes and assume that it will execute flawlessly. And please, please tell people where the originals are. In this day and age, it feels so superfluous to have physical papers, but especially for wills and also for powers of attorney that are being used to sell property, we need those originals. They’re going in court files, and it is important that the people who are supposed to be doing something with this know where they are.

I would love to help you with your estate planning. Contact us today.

Estate Planning E-Book for Georgia Residents

Click below to download your free copy of Sarah Siedentopf's e-book, Peace of Mind Through Estate Planning: A Guide for Georgia Residents.

Scroll to Top