When you take into account the many and varied complexities associated with estate planning, it’s easy to see why a lot of Canadians try to avoid the process altogether. Coupled with the fact that talking about one’s death isn’t exactly a pleasant topic, you’ve got thousands of people unprepared for what might happen to their estate in the event of their death.

Fortunately, working with wills and estates lawyers in Edmonton can go a long way towards simplifying the estate planning process, but if you do decide to brave it unaided, here are some mistakes you don’t want to make:

Create an Up-to-Date Will

Failing to create and maintain an accurate will is a huge estate planning mistake that can easily cause problems for the executor of your estate in the event of your death. If you don’t yet have a will, make one. And if you have one but it hasn’t been updated, do so immediately. Try to maintain it every five years or so, or after a significant event, such as a death, birth, or marriage.

Maintain an Accurate Estate Asset Inventory

At the top of every estate asset inventory should be the big-ticket items, like property, cars, and expensive jewelry. It’s not uncommon for savings accounts, digital banking accounts, and retirement accounts to feature, too. Often forgotten, however, are such things as cryptocurrency and family heirlooms. If you don’t make a comprehensive inventory of all your assets, the executor of your estate could be left hunting for hidden assets or missing them altogether.

Ensure You List Your Debts

If you’ve got a credit card with a high-interest debt attached to it, or a loan or mortgage, for example, it’s crucial that you record them so that your loved ones can get the most out of your estate assets and not be left unprepared when your estate debts are paid off using their inheritance during probate.

Simplify Your Estate

Different enterprises, investments, or global real estate, can all complicate an estate, dragging out the process of settlement unnecessarily and making it more expensive. Where possible, ensure that when planning your estate, you have as many of your accounts as possible held jointly. Also ensure that beneficiaries of retirement accounts are clearly stated and that your estate is kept as small as it can be through gifting assets during your lifetime—something known as living inheritances.

How can you avoid making these common mistakes?

Hiring an estate planning lawyer is the simplest and most effective way to reduce the risk of your making any mistakes when planning your estate, but you can also do the following three things:

  1. Safeguard all important documents.
  2. Choose an estate executor you can trust.
  3. Keep your will up to date.

Being organized is the key to successful estate planning. While it might not be the most comfortable topic to think about, taking some time now to consider what happens to your assets in the event of your death is an important step. Don’t put it off any longer – taking action now can ensure your wishes are met and your loved ones are taken care of.If you haven’t yet thought about your estate and what will happen to your assets when you’re no longer here, it could be time to schedule a consultation with anestate planning lawyer in your area. Leaving it until the last minute is never ideal, and no one knows when the last minute may be.

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