Estate planning. It’s a topic nobody jumps out of bed for, right? Yet, here’s the kicker: it’s absolutely crucial. We’re talking about securing your legacy, ensuring your loved ones are taken care of, and avoiding chaos if something were to happen to you.

Estate planning decisions can be tricky, but with the right help can be easier than you think. Here’s a closer look at the seven most common estate planning mistakes and how you can sidestep them.

Not making a plan at all

The adage, “failing to plan is planning to fail” rings especially true here. Without an estate plan, you risk leaving your heirs in a state of confusion, potentially leading to disputes and court battles.

How to Avoid: Begin with the basics. Draft a will, designate beneficiaries, and ensure you have named an executor. Even a simple estate plan is better than none.

Keeping silent about your plan

Not discussing your wishes with your beneficiaries often leads to confusion or misunderstandings after you’re gone.

How to Avoid: Transparency is key. Discuss your estate plan with your loved ones. Make sure your beneficiaries and executor understand your wishes and the reasons behind them.

Overlooking your broader legacy

Many mistakenly believe that estate planning is solely about distributing wealth.

How to Avoid: Think about intangibles. Maybe there’s a charity close to your heart you want to support, or perhaps family heirlooms that carry emotional value. Ensure these are accounted for in your plan.

Failing to list all assets

If you don’t list all your assets, some might get overlooked, leading to potential loss or disputes.

How to Avoid: Keep a comprehensive, updated list of all your assets, both tangible (like property) and intangible (like stocks or bonds). Make it easily accessible to your executor.

Ignoring online assets

The Mistake: In today’s digital age, overlooking online assets is a glaring oversight. From digital currencies to social media accounts, these assets can hold both monetary and sentimental value.

How to Avoid: Catalog all your online accounts, from email to online banking, and ensure your executor has the means to access them, whether that’s through a list of passwords or digital estate planning tools.

Forgetting to Add a Power of Attorney

Granting power of attorney is vital for estate planning. Without it, decisions regarding your assets and health could be left unresolved if you’re incapacitated.

How to Avoid: Choose a trusted individual to act on your behalf if needed. Ensure they understand your wishes and have legal authority.

Not Ensuring Beneficiary Alignment

All beneficiaries must align with your estate plan to avoid conflicts. Misaligned designations can lead to unintended distribution of assets.

How to Avoid: Regularly update beneficiary designations to match your current plan. Communicate changes clearly to beneficiaries.


While we know estate planning may not be the most thrilling topic, its importance cannot be overstated. If you have any questions or need further guidance on navigating the complexities of estate planning, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help you every step of the way.

Oak & Stone Capital Advisors and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or services.  Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.​ Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, A Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.