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Top 3 Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate planning is essential to ensure that your family will be financially secure if the worst happens to you. However, simple mistakes can cost your family valuable time, create unnecessary tension, and jeopardize your legacy. Here are some common estate planning mistakes you should think about when planning for your family’s future:

Person on LaptopNot Planning Ahead

The biggest mistake in estate planning can be not planning your estate. In some instances, this may not be so bad as most states have a intestacy laws – a “default” estate plan whereby the assets go to the deceased’s closet relatives. However, any intended beneficiary who is not a relative will not be entitled to your assets or property; i.e. friends, domestic partners, and boyfriends/girlfriends. Conversely, if you do not want certain relatives to receive your assets, you would need to specifically call them out in a will. If you pass away without a will, trust, or relatives, your property and assets will pass to the state.

Failing to Update Your Estate Plan

An estate plan is often created twenty or thirty years prior to the testator’s death. During those intervening years, life may change significantly. You may have a new child, you may become remarried, or one of your intended beneficiaries may predecease you. You may have moved from your house but forgotten to add the title of the new house to your trust. Indeed, Florida is a popular destination for retirees – make sure to add your new Florida property to your trust if you intend for your beneficiaries to inherit it. It is important to update your estate plan after a major life change so that there is no confusion about your intentions once the plan goes into effect.

Underfunding Your Trust

A trust is a popular estate plan, but the trust must be properly funded to work. If you set up a trust but forget to add your assets into the trust, then the trust will not work as intended. Similarly, if you remove assets from the trust but forget to add other assets back in, then the trust may be not function as intended.

Your beneficiaries may require more funds than anticipated. For instance, a beneficiary with special needs, such as a child with autism, may require more care and attention. You should make arrangements for the trust to cover these special needs.

Do I Need a Lawyer If I Am Dealing with Probate in Florida?

Every state may have certain probate provisions and regulations that are unique to the area. It may be in your best interests to hire a Florida estates attorney if you need help with the probate process. Your attorney can provide legal guidance and can help you administer the estate of a loved one or receive your inheritance.


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