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Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid


Estate planning is a complicated subject. Many people avoid it altogether because they’re in denial over their future death. And in many cases, those who do have some sort of estate plan in place make mistakes with it. These errors can lead to conflicts and costly probate litigation.

Estate planning is essential at any age, but it should be a big concern if you are over the age of 50. It’s best to get professional advice from various parties, including lawyers, financial planners, and tax experts. These people can assess your situation and create an appropriate plan so you don’t make these common mistakes.

Your Plan is Incomplete or Has Errors

Some people have had an estate plan created at one time but failed to update it after a divorce or other life change. Also, some people assume a plan is complete and free of errors because an attorney prepared it. However, you should never assume. Always read your estate planning documents before signing off.

Mistakes With Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries need careful attention, so be sure to review retirement plans, IRAs, and life insurance policies carefully to ensure there are no mistakes or conflicts. Many people fail to update beneficiaries on insurance policies and 401(k) plans in the event of a divorce. This leads to ex-spouses getting paid the money instead of current spouses. So make sure to check your beneficiaries and name backup beneficiaries as well.

Estate Plan Doesn’t Follow the Laws

If you created an estate plan decades ago, it may no longer be relevant. Laws change, and a plan you created 20 years ago may be worthless due to changes in the law as well as anyone  named in it. Outdated plans can cause intense family conflict, so plan on updating your estate plan at least every three years.

Problemsome Gifts

Not everyone wants your assets. You may think of your house as valuable, but if it’s rundown, old, and in need of repairs, do you really think your children will want it once you die? Trying to sell it could be a costly process.

Another issue is leaving money and other assets to minor children. These assets ideally need to be put in a trust and handled by a trustee. Talk to a lawyer to understand your options.

Not Informing Loved Ones

Having an estate plan is a good first step, but don’t neglect to inform your loved ones about it. Where is everything they need? Don’t forget to create a guide for accessing digital assets. If you are married, your spouse should know how to access bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial documents.

Seek Legal Help

Many people go forward with estate planning, but they make mistakes that lead to a lot of drama upon their death. When conflicts occur, probate litigation may be necessary to resolve the issues.

Fort Lauderdale probate litigation lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can handle your probate dispute with skill and efficiency. We can assist you with wills, trusts, probate, and estate administration disputes. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling 954-764-4330.



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