Now that you’ve decided to write your estate plan, you’re well on your way to protecting yourself and your loved ones in the event that you die or become incapacitated. However, there are still certain legal issues that might arise if you don’t plan your estate correctly. Here are a few common mistakes that you should avoid while planning your estate.

What are some common estate planning mistakes?

During the estate planning process, many people fail to designate beneficiaries on their savings accounts, life insurance plans and other assets. Worse still, some people forget to update the beneficiaries on their accounts, meaning that these assets could go to former spouses or people that they’ve cut out of their will.

To avoid this issue, it’s important to name a beneficiary for assets that require one. If you’ve already done this, periodically review your accounts to make sure the beneficiaries are up to date. Otherwise, your assets could end up going to someone you don’t want to include in your will.

On a similar note, make sure you don’t make a minor individual your beneficiary. While it might seem safe to assume that your children will be adults when you die, there’s no way to guarantee that this will happen. If you die when they’re still underage, they won’t be able to take control of your assets. If you want your accounts to pass on to your children or grandchildren, make sure you name a guardian for them in your will. This person will be able to inherit the accounts and pass them on when the children reach adulthood.

Should you hire an attorney when you plan your estate?

When you start planning your estate, an attorney may be an invaluable resource. An attorney may help keep you from making mistakes that could cause inheritance issues or legal battles after you pass away. On a similar note, your attorney may help you write a clear, direct estate plan that leaves nothing to interpretation, preventing lawsuits and family arguments. Your attorney might also help you value your assets and make sure you’re distributing them to the right people.