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Groundhog Day – Don’t Repeat Your Parents’ Estate Planning Mistakes

woman teaching old couple about estate planThe cult classic movie, Groundhog Day, is just as hilarious to many fans as it was the first-time fans saw the movie. However, when you think about going through the same things repeatedly until you get it right, the thought is cringing.

Most of us can recall an experience when we’ve told ourselves we won’t become our parents and do things the same way they did.  Estate planning is a perfect example. Whether you saw the lack of planning from your parents or other family members you probably think of the challenges navigating hours with attorneys or the court, sorting through possessions, family arguments, stress and grief that was associated with the experience vs. a time of celebrating your loved one’s life and legacy.

Avoid these 5 estate planning mistakes:

1. Procrastinating

It’s nothing like seeing your parents not having a will. This situation leaves someone to have to go through their estate and often make difficult decisions that they might not be prepared for. Also, there are many scenarios when some people think they will get their plans in order. But instead, time passed, and nothing changed. It’s common to think we will live forever but now more than ever age does not dictate our time in this world.

2. Giving everything to someone and giving her/him instructions on what to do.

This hardly ever works if it’s not documented, even if it’s your closest loved one either because they don’t recall your intent, other family members question their intent, or they see an opportunity to profit personally.

3. Set it and forget it.

‘Set it and forget it’ is catchy, but it shouldn’t be the mindset when creating a will. Situations can change over time. You may want to change beneficiaries and more. Be sure to dust off your plans at least every five years.

4. Not Taking Income Tax Ramifications into Consideration

This step is relatable to step #3. So, it’s imperative to work with a reputable attorney to ensure you are distributing the amount of inheritance you want to your loved ones in the most tax efficient manner.

5. Waiting to make your wishes known and enjoy your legacy until you’re gone.

If you have always wanted your grandchild to have a family heirloom why not gift it to them while you are still alive to see them enjoy the gift.  Waiting to talk about your wishes and make them known just puts more strain on your loved ones.


For more information about estate planning, contact The McLario Firm today. Located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, we have been providing top-notch legal services for the state of Wisconsin since 1953. It really can be a simple process that leaves you with peace of mind.

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