Four Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Even the most up-to-date plan may have undesired consequences if it's not put together carefully. Beware these common flaws:
  1. Not coordinating beneficiary designations with your overall estate plan. Certain assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance proceeds are not controlled by your will and go, at your death, to the beneficiaries you named either when you opened the account or when you last updated the account's beneficiary forms.
  2. Not making sure assets are titled correctly. Property ownership must be tailored to your overall plan. Assets held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, for example, pass to the surviving joint tenant even if your will says something different.
  3. Not planning for incapacity. Who will make important financial and medical decisions on your behalf in the event of a sudden illness or incapacity? Durable powers of attorney for financial and health care provide direction to your agent or attorney-in-fact in the event you cannot make decisions for yourself.
  4. Not naming or updating a guardian for minor children. If you don't decide and formalize your wishes in your will or trust, a court will. Review your guardianship provisions regularly so your children's well-being doesn't end up in the hands of a court.
While you review your estate plan to ensure it's accurate and best reflects your wishes, you may want to consider including a gift to Gustavus Adolphus College in your plans. A gift in your will is a simple and flexible way to support our important work while still providing for your loved ones. Contact Jackie Peterson at 507-933-7543 or