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Potential pitfalls of not making an estate plan

No one likes to think about needing an estate plan. An estate plan essentially forces a person or family to think about their mortality or the mortality of a loved one. However, not planning accordingly or not being prepared can be costly to loved ones and can also leave more work and cost more money for those who have to deal with the aftermath of an ill-prepared or incomplete estate plan. Anyone in Michigan who has not thought outside of the box when it comes to an estate plan may benefit by stopping and doing so.

A lot of people do decide to create a will and outline the basics of who gets what. Yet, many of those people may not take any time to revisit that estate plan. Beneficiaries can be blindsided or shocked to see that a plan that might have been relevant 20 years earlier only leads to family strife because it was never updated. People divorce, more children are born and children and parents sometimes develop strained or complicated relationships. Not updating a plan to accommodate these changes can be devastating and unfair to those left behind.

Another problem with simply drafting a will and not revising an estate plan is that health is unpredictable. Someone may think they may never need long term care or a nursing home, but there is no way to know for sure. Long term care insurance and funds set aside for healthcare can be a smart way to go when estate planning.

No one estate plan fits all. The individual needs of people and families can vary greatly and evolve over time. Anyone in Michigan who is ready to create an estate plan may want to further explore unique options and take the time to consider all scenarios and possibilities so as to be fully prepared for anything that may come their way.

Source:, "Avoid common mistakes in elder law estate planning", Oct. 16, 2014

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