Planning Your Estate? Don't Commit These Mistakes

Most people think of estate plans as something you don't have to address until you are much older. Estate plans are thought of as this far off event -- one that no young or middle-aged person should consider until years from now. But that is a fallacy. Anyone should be considering their estate plan, even if you don't have many assets. Drawing up provisions and rules for how your estate, wealth and assets are handled in case of death is an important responsibility that you should take seriously.

Not having an estate plan is just one of many mistakes that people need to avoid in the world of estate planning. Here are a few others:

  • Update your will frequently. A lot happens in life, and every event could mean that a change to your will is necessary. Married the love of your life? Are you having children? Have you picked up a significant asset? Are you getting divorced? Did one of your beneficiaries pass away, or did the two of you have a falling out? Then it's time to update your will.
  • Utilize trusts and other estate planning tools to reduce taxes and avoid probate. Estates can be heavily taxed and lose value in probate, so use trusts, gifts and other processes to avoid taxes and probate.
  • Prepare for disability or incapacitation. As we get older, we will inherently be less able to do things we have found so routine in the past. If you suffer a disability or medical condition that prevents you from making decisions or communicating, you will want measures in your estate plan to help you.

Source: FindLaw, "Ten Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid," Accessed June 30, 2016

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