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6 common estate planning mistakes you should avoid

Experts say that everyone from the age of 18 on needs to have an estate plan, but people tend to put it off for decades. Some say they simply do not have the time to think about it. Others just postpone thinking about end-of-life matters, period.

When you finally run out of excuses, you will find that if you are somewhat prepared, you and your attorney can put together an estate plan that will give you peace of mind. To help move you along on this path, here are six estate planning mistakes you will want to avoid:

1. Delaying for too long. You do not have to be deceased for your estate plan to begin working. For example, if you should become disabled and have not put powers of attorney in place for the management of your healthcare and financial affairs, your spouse may need to go to court to have a guardian or conservator appointed.

2. Neglecting digital assets. You have a digital life. You may have important documents stored in the cloud and social media accounts. You may do business online. Make sure your spouse, your attorney or other interested parties know about these assets and have access to pertinent information, like passwords.

3. Not updating beneficiary information. A will or trust will not administer your retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Keep your beneficiary forms current so that the loved ones you intended will receive the right funds.

4. Forgetting about Rover. Your pet is your best friend. Make sure you provide for Rover or Fluffy so that your pet will have good care in the event of your death.

5. Naming a suitable trustee. Select as your trustee someone who you truly feel can best handle the job and carry out your wishes. You could also choose a professional trustee if that makes you feel more comfortable.

6. Allowing your plan to lapse. People become ill, couples have children. Marriages end in divorce and new marriages begin. Estate planning laws change as well. You should update your estate plan as necessary to reflect changing circumstances. Your attorney can help you keep everything current, giving you a feeling of accomplishment — and valuable peace of mind.




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