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Watch out for these common estate planning mistakes

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Estate Planning |

One of your goals for the new year may be to set up an estate plan. This is a wise and responsible decision.

Having a solid estate plan in place, whether through a will, trust, power of attorney or a combination of all three, can take a tremendous burden off your loved ones if something were to happen to you.

Your estate plan will save them the time and stress of navigating the Florida probate process and wondering if they are doing what you would have wanted.

Talk about your estate plan

Many people dread talking about estate planning, which is understandable. The process forces us to think about things we’d rather not contemplate. However, it is important to discuss your estate planning with your family.

You will need to name an executor in your will, which is a person who will be responsible for distributing your property according to the terms of your will and handling estate administration duties.

Talk to your potential executor before selecting them to verify you can trust them to take on the responsibility. Executor aside, talking about your general plan with your family can help everyone set reasonable expectations.

Learn about all your options

As you begin to create your estate plan, watch out for these common mistakes. First, recognize that an estate plan involves more than just a will. Explore all available estate planning options and select ones that you feel are suitable for your situation.

For example, in addition to a will, you might want to have a power of attorney drafted, to allow someone to make medical or financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

Do not forget about these important items

When drafting a will, you are most likely thinking about who you want to receive your assets, but do not forget about including your end-of-life wishes.

Your will should specify if you would like to be buried or cremated and include your funeral arrangement preferences.

As you do go through your assets, remember that in today’s world many of us have digital assets, as well. These include things like your email addresses, social media accounts or streaming subscription services.

Your executor will be responsible for handling your digital assets along with distributing your physical assets. They can take care of managing or closing out your digital accounts.

Name more than one beneficiary

Always have a backup beneficiary in place. One of the easiest things to overlook is assuming that your beneficiary will still be around when you die.

This is especially common if you are older and naming a much younger beneficiary. Naming a backup beneficiary can prevent complications in the estate administration process.

Review and update your plan as needed

Finally, once your estate plan is in place, do not just set it aside and forget about it. Keep your will in a safe place and review it regularly to see if any updates are necessary.

The assets you have today you may not have tomorrow. Many people die with a will that is, unfortunately, extremely outdated, which could potentially make things even more complex than if there was no will at all.

Your estate plan is unique to you, and there are many things to think about. An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you on the best way to set up your plan and help you get one in place.



Photo of Jennifer D. Sharpe