Older adults sometimes have a false sense of security when it comes to their estate plans. Especially if they created documents earlier in life, they probably assume that the people they love will have support and will be able to carry out their last wishes.
However, your estate planning needs constantly change. As a grandparent, your goals and wishes will be different than they were when you were a young, single professional. Identifying and avoiding four of the most common estate planning mistakes committed by grandparents will help you make the most of your estate planning efforts.
Procrastinating until it is too late
Perhaps the single most common and easily preventable estate planning mistake involves not creating any documents because a testator presumes they still have time to address their needs in the future.
No one has any idea of what life holds, and children will typically have inheritance rights while grandchildren will not if you die without a will.
Failing to update existing documents
Your estate plan from when you first had children is no longer an accurate reflection of your priorities, assets and family relationships. From adding your grandchildren as beneficiaries to addressing the property you accumulated later in life, there are many updates and changes to your estate plan that you may need to make to properly carry out your wishes.
Waiting until you die to share your assets
If you have enough property in your name to leave a sizable inheritance to your grandchildren and children, then you can consider making gifts to them while you are still alive.
You can help them when they really need the support and more importantly, you can witness their enjoyment of those gifts. Those gifts can also diminish the value of your estate, which can provide some secondary estate planning benefits.
Giving in to outside influences
Caregivers, children who haven’t properly managed their own lives and manipulative friends might all try to coerce you into changing your estate plan for their own benefit. Especially when you have valuable property, you may not see the harm in bending your wishes to accommodate someone else’s demands, especially if they have some authority over your daily life.
However, whatever additional inheritance you give to someone that pressures you will diminish what other people or charitable causes received. You should be firm in your own wishes and recognize that preferences, not their desires, are what matter for your estate plan.
Once you have identified your own priorities and put them down in documents, you can enjoy your golden years knowing that you will leave behind a meaningful legacy. Thinking about estate planning carefully will help you protect yourself and support the people you love.