Realizing the importance of creating an estate plan is just the first step to ensuring one’s loved ones are taken care of in the future. Pennsylvania residents should know that while their estate plan is unique to their situation, there are still a number of mistakes that can negatively impact the distribution of their assets after they are gone.

The most important way to avoid these mistakes is by understanding what one has just signed. While it may seem like leaving estate planning to the experts is the best way to get things done properly, this does not mean one does not have to understand the fundamentals. Often, the person involved in estate planning will have to take certain steps upon the creation of the plan, but without knowing about it, may fail to do so. As a result, a carefully and lovingly crafted plan may not be implemented and become worthless over time.

Additionally, it is important to update an estate plan as important life changes take place to maintain the integrity of the plan. Updating beneficiary designations, asset ownerships and powers of attorney ensures that assets are going to those one intended. For example, unintended beneficiaries may walk away with something because of a provision created decades ago.

Change in net worth, births, marriages, divorces, residence and job status all should be accompanied by estate plan changes to ensure that it accurately updates one’s life. Updating one’s estate plan is just as important as creating one, and an experienced estate planning and probate attorney can help with both actions.