It’s common for people to feel uncomfortable when thinking about the end of their lives. However, estate planning can make the end of life easier and provide valuable assistance to loved ones. There are several mistakes to avoid when trying to plan for the future of an estate.

The biggest potential mishap regarding estate planning is never getting around to writing a plan. Without a plan, the assets will be given out according to the state’s intestacy laws, and the case may be tied up in probate court for years. Another common mistake is failing to update plans that have been written. People should review their plans and update them when major changes occur in their lives.

A big problem can occur if one has not planned for long-term care needs and the possibility of becoming disabled. Drafting a plan that outlines end-of-life care and grants powers of attorney can give a person some control over the care that they’ll receive. Planning for long-term care can help to defray substantial expenses that might otherwise have to be paid by selling off assets. Planning for funeral and burial expenses is also important; otherwise, loved ones could be saddled with the costs.

It’s wise to have some type of estate plan in place during adulthood. Younger adults might benefit from having durable powers of attorney and living wills even if they do not have substantial assets. Older people might be able to avoid probate and distribute their assets according to specific wishes instead of having the court make the decision. An estate planning lawyer can evaluate a client’s situation and advise them about how to best accomplish estate goals. Legal counsel might draft wills, trusts, living wills, advanced directives, powers of attorney and other documents.