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5 common estate planning mistakes to avoid

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | Estate Planning | 0 comments

Estate planning plays an important role in ensuring the proper distribution of your assets after you pass away. However, many individuals make avoidable errors that can jeopardize their intentions and create unnecessary complications for their loved ones.

By understanding five common mistakes, you can navigate the estate planning process more effectively.

1. Neglecting to create a will

One of the most fundamental errors in estate planning is failing to establish a will. Without a will, your assets will get distributed according to state laws, which may not align with your intentions. Drafting a clear and legally binding will empowers you to dictate the distribution of your assets and designate guardianship for any minor children.

2. Overlooking beneficiary designations

Many assets, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, allow you to designate beneficiaries. Failing to review and update these designations regularly can lead to unintended consequences. Ensure that your beneficiary information is current and aligned with your overall estate plan.

3. Ignoring estate tax implications

Estate taxes can diminish the value of your estate if they are not properly addressed. Being unaware of the potential tax liabilities or failing to implement strategies to minimize them can erode the wealth you intend to pass on to your heirs. A financial advisor can help you explore tax-efficient estate planning strategies.

4. Forgetting to plan for incapacity

Estate planning is not just about what happens after you pass away; it also involves preparing for potential incapacity during your lifetime. Failing to establish documents such as a durable power of attorney or healthcare proxy can leave important decisions in the hands of strangers instead of trusted individuals.

5. Failing to review and update

If you fail to review and update your plan regularly, discrepancies may arise between your intentions and the actual distribution of your assets. Major life events, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or significant financial changes, should prompt a review of your estate plan.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure your assets get distributed properly and according to your wishes.