Ohio residents are taking an important step when they start putting together an estate plan. No matter how much in assets they have, almost anyone can benefit from having an estate plan in place. However, there are certain missteps that need to be avoided in the estate planning process. What mistakes are important to avoid?

Well, for starters, it is important to avoid the biggest mistake of all — not having an estate plan. If one does not delineate how they want their assets distributed, or appoint who they want to be responsible for their minor children, those decisions will be left to the state probate law process. But, even when one does have an estate plan in place, it is equally important to make sure that it is update as needed. It would be a mistake to believe that an estate plan, once completed, will never need changes.

Next, think of an estate plan as more than just addressing “post-death” matters. As part of a comprehensive estate plan, one will also likely want to execute power of attorney documents, which apply during a person’s life to empower another person to make decision if the planner becomes incapacitated. One may also want to include plans for long-term care, as it is likely that many people will need extra care as they get older.

Lastly, make sure that one has considered and included all of their assets in an estate plan. Most people have more in assets than they realize. Yes, people have a family home, vehicles and other obvious valuables, but be sure to include retirement accounts, IRAs, pension accounts and valuable personal property, such as jewelry.