Estate planning remains a frequently neglected aspect of future planning in Virginia. Unfortunately, failure to create wills and trusts may have some major financial consequences. Here are some of the most common estate planning mistakes.

First, those with insurance policies and retirement accounts may forget to name contingent beneficiaries or fail to review their beneficiaries frequently enough. If no contingent beneficiaries are selected, the default is likely a person’s estate, which might be subject to creditors, probate and delays. In addition, if beneficiaries are not reviewed frequently, asset owners may end up leaving their valuables to unintended parties — such as an ex-spouse.

Another common mistake when it comes to planning an estate is leaving an asset directly to a young child and not addressing guardianship issues. It is critical that the parents of a minor child determine who will end up handling the asset for him or her. Otherwise, the court will decide who the child’s guardian will be, and the court’s decision may not necessarily be in line with what the asset owner would have wanted.

Creating trusts and wills may seem a bit morbid, which is why it is often not given attention. However, poor estate planning documents may cause asset owners to accidentally exclude their loves ones from inheritances. In addition, poor estate planning may also lead to larger-than-necessary tax bills or expensive legal battles that end up ruining family relationships. An attorney in Virginia can help to prevent these undesirable scenarios by ensuring that asset owners develop well-thought-out estate plans.