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Estate Planning Mistakes: What We Can Learn

Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 1:40AM

All too often, we get a glimpse at what can happen when celebrities, loved ones and other influential figures pass away without having established adequate estate planning. While what ensues—family strife, will disputes, and more—can be difficult to watch, it can actually teach us a lot about our own estate planning needs.

In today’s blog, we will be looking at some of the most common estate planning mistakes we see—and how you can avoid them with a bit of time and planning today.

Not having a plan

The biggest mistake when it comes to estate plans is, of course, not having one at all. You typically have a good amount of freedom when it comes to deciding what you want to happen with your estate—however, none of your decisions will mean much unless they are expressed and confirmed in an estate plan.

Too often, unexpected events leave families confused and without much guidance when it comes to the wishes of their loved ones. Embarking on the estate planning process—even if you’re young—is a sure way to avoid this happening in your family.

Trying the “do-it-yourself” approach

The do-it-yourself, or DIY, craze is popular when it comes to home improvement, arts and crafts, culinary creations and more—but estate planning is definitely one area that is typically better suited to the help of a professional. Mistakes in the estate planning process can lead to changes to what you originally intended for your estate and for your family, so always be sure to work with a professional during the process, if only to confirm that everything you’ve decided on is legally sound and legitimate.

Not making your wishes explicit

It’s one thing to have a passion for a particular charity or organization—it’s another thing entirely to have that passion documented in your estate plan. Don’t count on family or other parties using your estate to benefit the causes you care about… instead, make this provision explicit in your estate plan.

Failing to change documents with time

Too often, we hear about loved ones passing away with outdated estate plans. While the plan itself may not “expire,” the plan you make when you’re 30 is often very different from the one you need when you’re 40, 50 or older. Needs and family circumstances change, so don’t let your estate plan stay in the past—rework it to suit your current needs and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with it.

We hope that today’s blog helps you along during the estate planning process—whether you’re just getting started or are simply revisiting your plan. As always, we are here to help you with whatever you may need along the way—just call our office today.

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