Common Estate Planning Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Taking care of your estate plan feels morbid to some people. As a result, many people die without taking the steps they would have taken to ensure their wishes would be followed. Every state has a will it applies to people who die without a will, but those wills vary from state-to-state and they often fail to have the results the deceased would have wanted.

There are a number of scenarios that lead to problems settling the estate after death.

Neglect toward updating your will

Our circumstances change as we move through life. People we care about leave our lives through divorce and death while new people enter our lives through relationships, marriages, and births.

The best practice is to review your will periodically and to do it quickly anytime there are major changes including births, divorces, deaths, and marriages.

Another estate planning mistake is not using a trust to ensure minors don’t inherit large sums of money on their 18th birthday.

estate planning errors

Appointing the wrong person to take care of your will

There are two important factors to consider when you name an Executor or Administrator of your will. The first is whether they are trustworthy. The second is whether they are capable of doing the job competently.

Competence changes over time. This is why it is important to name a back-up who can serve if your first choice is unable or unwilling. If the person you name doesn’t have the skills or their health is failing, it is a good idea to update your selections.


Procrastinating about your estate plan is a common estate planning mistake. Few people are comfortable thinking about their eventual death, and they find it difficult to think about how they would want things arranged when they are gone without wrestling with the idea of the temporary nature of their body.

One way to motivate yourself is to consider the ramifications of not doing anything or not updating your estate plan.

Wills aren’t just for old people. Young people can die as a result of accidents and illnesses. Denying the possibility of death leads to estate planning mistakes. No one has a guarantee that they will live to a ripe old age.

Drafting an online do-it-yourself estate plan

The proverb, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client” persists because it is so often true. You can’t fix a will after you’re gone. The smart way to handle your estate planning needs is to hire a Las Vegas estate planning lawyer.

Save your do-it-yourself projects for landscaping and home improvement projects.

Outdated Beneficiary Designation

Unfortunately, it is common for heirs not to learn about problems with the estate until the only person who could change things is deceased. Common problems include:

  • Leaving an ex-spouse in your will
  • Leaving a new child out of your will
  • Leaving deceased people as your heirs

If you’re divorced and remarried, it’s wise to make sure you’ve listed your current spouse as your beneficiary. It is not uncommon for someone in this situation to die and leave a new spouse and new children out of the will, leaving their new family with financial hardship and emotional wounds that are difficult to heal.

estate planning mistakes

Confusion between probate and non-probate assets

Individuals often think their will can change who gets certain assets, such as life insurance. As a result, they fail to change their beneficiary and enrich someone they would not want to receive the proceeds while the people they would have wanted to benefit from them experience hardships that were avoidable.


Avoid these and other estate planning mistakes by contacting a Las Vegas estate planning lawyer today. Your final, “I love you” to your family is an estate plan that doesn’t leave them impoverished.

For more than 30 years, Attorney Lee A. Drizin has practiced in the areas of estate planning, probate, trusts, guardianship and real estate matters representing clients throughout the state of Nevada.

Drizin Law is providing this information for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion as to any specific facts or circumstances. This information is based on general principles of Nevada law at the time it was created and you should be aware laws frequently change. Moreover, the laws affecting you may differ depending on the circumstances. You should consult with a qualified attorney in your own state or jurisdiction concerning your particular situation. Review of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.