Texas estate planning attorney Norma Montalvo Petrosewicz wrote an excellent article called “Top 10 Estate Planning Mistakes.”  The article (its in Word 2003 format) starts with

Many attorneys are asked to draft a simple Will, and most attorneys will do so because all it takes is filling out a “form”, right?  This article is presented to give non-estate planning attorneys the traps to be wary of in preparing an estate plan.

Although the article is aimed at attorneys who do not prepare estate plans regularly, the article is also a good primer for everyone who needs a will, trust and estate plan.  Here's Norma's list, but read her article to understand why each item on the list is a mistake:

  1. Failure to Plan for Disability
  2. Failure to Review Beneficiary Designations and Titling of Assets
  3. Failure to Consider the Estate and Gift Tax Consequences of Life Insurance
  4. Failure to Take Advantage of the Estate Tax Exemption
  5. Leaving assets outright to a surviving spouse
  6. Leaving Assets to Children at a Young Age
  7. Leaving assets outright to Adult Children
  8. Incorrect Beneficiary Designations for IRA’s
  9. Planning an Estate Distribution Around Specific Assets
  10. Gifting Asset to Avoid Probate

For more information about estate planning for Arizona residents, see our Estate Planning Law Library.