Legal matters surrounding your estate can be complicated. Being aware of five common mistakes that occur during the estate planning process can help you ensure that your estate is managed according to your wishes.

It is vital to carefully consider the person named durable power of attorney or medical power of attorney. If you choose someone who is untrustworthy or unqualified for the responsibility, your wishes might not be honored.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid naming your estate as the individual retirement account (IRA) beneficiary. If this mistake is made, your estate could be subject to numerous legal procedures. Only after the probate process, which could take years, will your heirs possibly receive funds from your estate.

When there is a shift in the family it is important to update IRA beneficiary information. For example, if you go through a divorce, it is critical that you un-name your ex-spouse as the IRA beneficiary and name someone else.

To help your family in the event that you become ill or incapacitated, it is crucial to sign a healthcare directive, also known as a “living will.” Your living will is meant to give your family insight into your preferences should you require emergency health procedures such as CPR or life support.

Lastly, be sure to add funds to the trust that you leave for your heirs. This is an all too common mistake that can leave many family members without the assets that you wanted them to have.

The legal matters around estate planning can seem confusing and overwhelming to people unfamiliar with the processes. If you live in the Chicago area, the attorneys of Peck Ritchey, LLC, can answer your questions about estate planning. Call our offices today at (855) 328-5787 to speak with a member of our legal team.