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5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Sun, Jun 10, 2018 at 3:05PM

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

For many people, estate planning is confusing, frustrating, and even overwhelming. Some of us face complicated approaches to appropriate asset distribution. Others shy from facing their own mortality, and what life for their loved ones might be like after their passing.

That could be why 52 percent of U.S. adults have not made a will or any sort of end-of-life planning, according to a 2017 report from BMO Wealth Management. Researchers also discovered only 28 percent of adult children were aware of parental last wishes.

Comprehensive estate planning is an avenue that shouldn’t be ignored. Thankfully, there are simple and straight-forward methods to approach this paramount task. Start by avoiding these common pitfalls:

1) Not Having a Plan

As mentioned, formulating a detailed estate plan is vital to guaranteeing a solid financial future for your loved ones. In addition, these plans ensure your final wishes will be carried out according to your specifications.

Some people believe end-of-life preparations are only for the very wealthy or those in a certain age bracket. In fact, estate planning can and should begin by age 30. In addition, regardless of savings or assets, everyone benefits from having a comprehensive plan.

The best way to get started is to contact an estate planning attorney in Daytona Beach who can help you navigate the process and make the best decisions for your unique desires and requirements.

2) Improper Handling of Paperwork

Especially as we get older, the years seem to pass faster. During that time, many life events occur. That includes:

  • birth of grandchildren
  • death of loved ones
  • marriage or divorce
  • new jobs and retirement
  • change in living arrangements
  • and more

Unfortunately, as time passes and life’s duties capture our time and attention, many people fail to examine essential documents (such as beneficiary data). Keeping this information updated and accurate is essential. In fact, your Daytona Beach wills lawyer recommends reviewing and revising these documents at least once every three years.

3) Hasty Compilation  

When drafting estate planning documents, it’s imperative that the language used is direct and easily understandable.

For example, say you have three children. You leave your estate to “my surviving offspring.” This vague statement creates many questions. Should one child pass away, will the remaining funds be distributed between the two surviving children, or will the deceased’s portion be distributed to care for grandchildren or dependents?

By contrast, a clear and comprehensive estate plan eliminates confusion and ensures your final wishes will be honored as they were intended. 

4) Making Unrealistic Demands

While a desire to provide for the financial security of loved ones upon your passing is natural, it’s important not to force stipulations that may be unrealistic or impossible to achieve.

For instance, consider the hypothetical situation that the sale of your home is contingent on family members living in their own homes close by. While family bonding and closeness may be the intention, should one family member choose to relocate, you could unwittingly jeopardize the financial future of all loved ones involved. Including very specific plans could also diminish the amount of allocated funds available for each beneficiary.

Avoid such scenarios by working with a skilled and qualified attorney well-versed with probate in Ormond Beach and the surrounding area.

5) Solo Attempts

In an era that’s seen growing popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, it’s understandable that some people would want to approach estate planning as an individual effort or challenge. Instead, it’s paramount that you work with a qualified and reputable estate planning attorney in Daytona Beach who can help you fashion detailed and legally-binding documentation.

For approximately 40 years, our firm has assisted Central Florida residents will many of their legal needs. From estate planning, to Volusia County guardianship, real estate law, and more, we have the experience and resources to guide you through even the most complex circumstances. Contact us today to learn more about how you can begin a comprehensive estate plan.


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