Part of the goal of estate planning is to perform a kindness to your heirs. The last thing you want to do is place a burden on those you care about the most.
The following scenarios reveal how a poorly implemented plan affects those who must wrestle with the consequences.
Forbes illustrates just how much time and emotional energy a messy estate requires of those left behind. Just the physical remnants of an estate could require hours to sort through and hundreds of complex decisions on what to keep and what to toss.
One final act of generosity to survivors is to purge your home of clutter to the best of your ability. This organization and streamlining process applies to your legal documents as well. Part of estate planning often involves consolidation of accounts and assets. This minimizes the chances of a lost or misplaced account. Part of your legacy includes the shape and clarity of your estate documents.
While estate planning often begins with a will, it should not always end there. There are negative impacts to relying too heavily on a will. Vital documents such as a power of attorney and a medical directive are also necessary to a complete estate plan. Without these documents, you could cede some authority to the courts, which could cost time, money and control.
When possible, preparation of these documents ahead of time is the safest course of action. It protects you from loss of authority in the case of a sudden medical issue or during a slow, unnoticed decline in mental capacity. Unformulated wishes and missing paperwork place an unnecessary burden on your heirs.