Nobody’s perfect; mistakes happen to the best of us. Many mistakes, however, can be avoided with the proper education and knowledge, and some mistakes are bigger than others. Some mistakes, as any Colorado estate planning attorney can tell you, can never be fixed…such as mistakes made when planning your estate that aren’t discovered until after you’re gone.

There are things to which you need to pay very close attention when planning your estate, and they are things that many people won’t even consider when thinking about their assets and how those assets should be divided when they’re gone.

Fortunately, with a bit of education and care, it’s not difficult to avoid common pitfalls in estate planning and probates. Some of the biggest mistakes to avoid are:

  • Be careful to appoint the right executor.
  • Do not appoint the wrong trustee
  • If it applies to you, always address divorce issues in your will or trust.
  • Make sure to address non-probate assets such as insurance policies, joint bank accounts, and other assets that are governed by documents other than your will.
  • Don’t forget your pets! Pets are assets as well, and without provisions to care for them, they could end up in a shelter or abandoned somewhere. Think of your pets as dependent members of your family—just like children, pets will need to be cared for when you die.
  • If need be, establish a life estate so that someone who is not on the deed and not related to you, but currently lives with you, may continue to live in the house for his or her lifetime.

All of these things may seem very obvious, but any good Denver estate planning attorney can tell you that people forget obvious and simple things all the time, and it can lead to catastrophic problems in the future. Take care when planning your estate; your loved ones’ futures could depend on it.