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Five estate planning mistakes to avoid

Reaching certain milestones in life gives you a unique perspective on and clarity about the future. Perhaps as it is as you prepare to you walk down the aisle or as you prepare to welcome your first child into the world. These moments often make you stop to take the essential step of writing an estate plan to create concrete plans for the future.

However, according to Fortune, despite the best intentions you may have to create a good estate plan, you may not achieve your goal. You may make some of the five most common mistakes that many people make.

A common mistake that you can make is that you do not create a plan. There are so many reasons for this. You may wait to write a will because you think that you are too young. You might wait to do estate planning because you don't think you need it.

No matter why you don't, putting off the essential step of putting your wishes clearly down on paper may create problems later on.

Another mistake is to only write a will. While it is important to write a last will and testimony in which you establish to whom you would like to leave what, your estate plan should use a variety of tools depending on your needs and circumstances. Some of these tools include:

  • Revocable living trusts
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Living will/advance directive

These tools along with your will which is often the corner stone of your plan may or may not be right for you. It's important to discuss your particular needs with an estate plan attorney.

A third common mistake is to not update your plan. You may have taken the step to do some solid estate planning.  But, life happens and these changes influence your estate plan needs. You should update your plan after:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • Any major financial change

Remember, plans are nothing but planning is everything.

A fourth common mistake is to not communicate your wishes to others. As hard as it may be to ask a loved one to be the executor of your estate, or to explain certain financial or medical choices to them, it may help matters later on. 

Last but not least, it may be a mistake to not at least consult  lawyer. Allowing an estate planning attorney to guide you through this process can be invaluable as you create your personalized plan to fit your individual needs.

These mistakes are very natural to make, but that doesn't mean that you will make them. However, if you or your loved one is interested in starting the estate planning process, you it may help to contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to discuss your questions about your particular situation.

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