In your last will and testament, consider your heirs

Texans who are getting ready to do some estate planning, such as having a last will and testament drawn up, may want to consider their heirs. You probably already know who your heirs will be, but by “consider your heirs,” we mean consider their personalities — their strong points and their weak points.

This way, as you plan your last will and testament, you can set your heirs to be winners and not losers. You don’t want to see the inheritance you have built through hard work squandered away, do you? Unfortunately, depending on who your heirs are, that could be just what happens.

There are some common mistakes that heirs make when they receive an inheritance. The most common is careless spending. People who have had little money for most of their life are inexperienced with how to make a windfall of money last and work for them. They buy large items, such as houses, cars or boats. However, as time moves on and the money is gone, they haven’t planned for how they were going to support those assets.

Another common mistake that heirs make is letting an inheritance — theirs or someone else’s — cause problems between them and their families. Inheritances can cause jealousy when everyone doesn’t get the same. It often harbors feelings of “they don’t deserve it.”

Finally, new heirs will probably need some advice from someone who can direct them on what to do with their inheritance. Many heirs just think it is their money now, and they can make their own decisions.

To avoid these problems, do some thorough estate planning with your attorney. When deciding who gets what, know and consider your heirs. Put safeguards in place, such a trust. It may be time-consuming, but it will make a great deal of difference for those you love.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, “5 Inheritance Mistakes for Heirs to Avoid” Susan Johnston, Jul. 15, 2014