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The importance of keeping up with estate planning

It is not uncommon for people living in Florida to put off estate planning. Additionally, many people who set up their estate planning documents consider the job done and do not update them regularly. Few individuals are comfortable thinking about their own mortality, and many people figure they can deal with wills and trusts later in life. However, failing to create and keep up with these documents can leave family members in a difficult situation.

People who have children should ensure that they create a will and keep it up to date, even if they do not have a large amount of property or assets. This is because while children will usually automatically inherit assets whether a will is in place or not, a will names who will take care of children if their parents are no longer able to. When someone does not have a will, it is up to the state to determine who will be their caretaker.

It is also a good idea for individuals to ensure that insurance policies and retirement accounts are kept up to date. People often open these accounts and do not remember to go back and update beneficiary information. Beneficiary designation forms override wills, so if someone has not updated them and made their spouse or children beneficiaries, they will not get these assets.

Speaking with an attorney may be helpful for people who are thinking about creating or updating estate planning documents. An attorney could help individuals understand what these documents do and help them set up wills and trusts in a manner that is as beneficial as possible to their heirs.

Source: El Paso Inc., "Estate planning: A moving target", Paul Sullivan, May 05, 2013

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