Eliminating Errors That Could Affect Trust In Estate

Eliminating Errors That Could Affect Trust In Estate

Edward Khidirov
October 12, 2023

Estate planning is an important process that helps you to ensure that your assets and loved ones are properly cared for in the event of your death. However, estate planning can be complex, and there are several potential pitfalls that estate planners will need to avoid to ensure that their client's estate plan is effective.

A common mistake that people make when estate planning is failing to update their client's plans on a regular basis. An estate plan must be promptly reviewed and updated at least once every five years or sooner if there are significant changes in a person's life or financial situation.

Intertwined with that, another common mistake is betraying clients' trust. Continue reading to learn more.

Is Client Trust Important in Estate Planning?

The estate planning process requires a great deal of trust between the client and the estate planner. The client must trust the estate planner to implement the plan and make decisions on their behalf, protecting their interests after they're gone.

If you break your client's trust, it could have a significant impact on your business. Not only will your clients be less likely to work with you in the future, but the negative experiences may reach their friends and family, which could hurt your business in the long run.

In addition, if the client's estate plan is ineffective because of your actions, the client's beneficiaries may file a lawsuit, alleging that you were negligent in your estate planning duties. As a result, it is important for estate planners to always keep the client's best interests in mind and to avoid recommending risky moves.

How Is Client Trust Maintained in Estate Planning?

As an estate planner, you are in a position of trust. Many clients trust you to help them navigate the estate planning process and to create a plan that will protect their assets and loved ones in the event of their death.

It is important that you maintain your client's trust by being honest and transparent with them. Never try to sell your clients products or services that they do not need. In addition, avoid recommending changes to your client's estate plan that is not in their best interest and is only for your personal benefit.

It's also recommended to invest in solutions that can optimize the services that estate planners offer and prevent any mistakes that can harm all parties involved. For instance, estate and trust administration software can help you keep track of your client's assets and ensure that all paperwork is in order, along with the future process of distributing assets.

What Estate Planning Errors Can Affect Client Trust?

To recap, estate planning is an important process that helps you manage your assets and plan for your family's future. It can be a complex process, and even the smallest mistake can have a big impact on your family's trust and your estate. Here are some common estate planning errors that can affect your client's trust:

1. Misspelled Names

A common mistake in estate planning is misspelling any person's name in a client's estate plan. This can happen with common names or complicated last names that can take more attention to spell out correctly.

This small error can remove the peace of mind that a client may have, as it might indicate that you're incapable of handling the estate plan. To avoid this, double-check all of the names in your estate plan and make sure they are spelled correctly.

2. Wrong Addresses

Another common mistake is putting the wrong address for a beneficiary in the estate plan. This error can typically occur when the beneficiary has moved to a different location recently or if you have an old home address for them.

If the address is wrong, the beneficiary may not receive their share of the trust. To avoid this, make sure you have the most up-to-date address for each beneficiary and attain their contact number in case of any updates in this crucial information.

3. Incorrect Legal Descriptions

Aside from the wrong address, another mistake that can be made in estate planning is using an inaccurate legal description of the property. This can happen if a client's assets have been sold or other details in the estate plan's description have changed.

If the legal description is incorrect, the accounts and property of a client may not be distributed correctly. To avoid this, make sure you have the most up-to-date and accurate legal description for each piece of property in the trust.

4. Missing “Not”

A mistake that's made when drafting a trust document is forgetting to put the word "not" in front of a beneficiary's name. For example, a client wants to exclude your son from the trust but forgets to put the word "not" in front of his name.

In such a scenario, that person would still be a beneficiary of the trust. To avoid this mistake, double-check the trust document to make sure the word "not" is used where it's needed and omitted where it isn't meant to be.

5. Misidentified Beneficiaries

Another mistake that often occurs in an estate plan is misidentifying beneficiaries. Such a costly mistake usually happens when there are several beneficiaries, and they're not clearly labelled. If the beneficiaries aren't identified and labelled properly, there can be a mix-up in the distribution of assets.

6. Fumbled Financial Figures

When it comes to financial figures, a simple mistake could result in big consequences. For example, if a trust document states that a certain amount of money is to be distributed to a beneficiary, but that amount is misstated, it could result in the beneficiary being short-changed. Double-check any figures listed in the trust document. 

7. Signature Errors

A common mistake in estate planning is not getting the signatures on the documents of a plan correctly. The documents must be signed in front of a notary public or two witnesses. If they are not, the documents may be considered invalid, which can raise questions and make your clients lose trust in you.


It is key to take the right measures to eliminate errors that could affect client trust in estate planning. Take the necessary steps that will help to build and maintain trust with clients and ultimately help to create a successful estate plan.

Seeking trust management software in Canada? Estateably is a modern estate and trust administration software for professionals. Try it out today!

More Articles