Avoiding Probate Pitfalls: Things to Avoid When Estate Planning

10 July 2023
 Categories: Law, Blog


Estate planning is an important process that allows individuals to manage and distribute their assets according to their wishes. However, without careful consideration and proper guidance, individuals may encounter probate pitfalls that can delay the distribution of their estate, increase costs and cause unnecessary stress for their loved ones. This blog post explains some of the things to avoid when estate planning to ensure a smooth and efficient transition of assets.

Neglecting to Create a Will

One of the most common mistakes in estate planning is failing to create a valid will. Without a will, your assets may be subject to intestacy laws, which means the court will determine how your estate is distributed. By neglecting to create a will, you risk your assets being distributed in a way that does not align with your wishes. An attorney can help you to draft a comprehensive and legally binding will is essential.

Failing to Update Your Estate Plan

Life is dynamic, and your estate plan should reflect the changes that occur over time. Failing to update your plan regularly can lead to unintended consequences. For example, certain assets, such as pensions, life insurance policies and payable-on-death bank accounts, allow you to designate beneficiaries. Failing to update these beneficiary designations can result in unintended consequences. For instance, if you forget to update a beneficiary designation after a divorce, your ex-spouse may still be entitled to the proceeds. To avoid such situations, regularly review and update your beneficiary designations so they reflect your current wishes. Doing so will ensure that the correct people benefit from your estate once you have died and will help to minimise the risk of lengthy and often destructive disputes following your death.

Not Utilising Trusts for Asset Protection

While a will is a key part of estate planning, relying solely on a will may expose your assets to probate. Probate can time consuming and costly. You can avoid these issues by establishing a trust. Trusts allow you to transfer assets to beneficiaries without going through probate, offering privacy, efficiency and potential tax benefits. By not considering the use of trusts in your estate plan, you may inadvertently subject your estate to unnecessary probate proceedings.


Estate planning ensures the smooth distribution of your assets and guarantees the financial well-being of your loved ones. Contact a law firm like Bale Boshev Lawyers to find out more. A member of the team will be happy to help.