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Common estate planning mistakes

Florida individuals who are planning for the disposition of their assets upon their death need to make sure that they take care of the small details so that their plan is executed in the way they intend. Otherwise, these details can result in a very different outcome for an inheritance than the person intended.

Failing to designate a beneficiary and quarreling family members are among the problems that can arise during estate planning. Blended families can create complications as individuals try to split inheritances among children, stepchildren and the current spouse. If beneficiary designations are not kept current, then a new spouse might get an inheritance intended for children from a previous marriage or an estate may get tied up in probate for some time. A detailed and disclosed list of what items should go to which family members may help prevent subsequent arguments over possessions.

Some individuals simply fail to make any estate plan at all. In such a case, the individuals closest to the deceased person may end up disinherited. For example, a nephew may spend years as the caregiver of an uncle estranged from his own children, but if that uncle does not write a will or put together a trust, the children might inherit the estate under state intestacy laws while the nephew gets nothing.

The best defenses against estate planning that goes awry are good communication, ensuring that the documents are updated along with major life changes such as divorce or remarriage and having a professional review the documents. Individuals who make their wishes known to their family before their death will avoid springing unpleasant surprises on their heirs as well as lessening the chances for misinterpretation of their estate plan. An attorney may ensure that documents are correct and that an individual's intentions will be carried out as planned.

Source: Daily Finance, "Avoid These Estate Planning Nightmares", Michele Lerner, August 20, 2014

Source: Daily Finance, "Avoid These Estate Planning Nightmares", Michele Lerner, August 20, 2014

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