A recent article from www.advocatedaily.com lists the top ten estate-planning mistakes according to Allison Oxtoby, a lawyer from British Columbia. Click here to see the list.
Some of the language used in the article is specific to BC, but the concepts apply right across the country. For example, the article mentions applying to be committee for an incapacitated adult, whereas other parts of the country call that adult guardianship.
Ms. Oxtoby and I apparently think alike, because I agree with each and every one of the ten items on her list.
Many of the mistakes people make during their estate planning (or lack of it) could be fixed or prevented simply by sitting down and having a frank discussion with an estate planning lawyer. I had a conversation with a client this morning to review her existing will, which she made about 15 years ago. As it turns out, what is in her will is not at all what she thought was in it. For example, the will leaves her home and all of its contents to two of her three children. When I asked why the third child was not to receive anything from the house, she was surprised. She thought she was leaving the house itself, and didn't realize the effect of adding the words "and contents".
Talk out your plans and ideas with someone who has experience in estates. This will prevent so many errors that tear families apart.