Avoiding 5 Common Estate Planning Pitfalls

Estate planning might sound like something only wealthy people do, but it's not. It is something that everyone should do, and you may be surprised when you realize just exactly what your estate comprises of. Avoid the most common estate planning pitfalls and ensure you and your family have a secure future.

1. Not writing a will

A will is the key component in estate planning, yet many people fail to see the importance of one. Personal wishes that have been communicated in a casual written or oral manner will generally not be followed in the absence of a will. Without a will the law will decide where and how your assets are distributed.

2. Not planning for mental incapacity

The possibility of a stroke or dementia later in life is a reality and a plan for this must be included in your will. Elect a trusted associate to have power of attorney over your affairs should the need for changes to your will arise when you are incapacitated. Graduations, births, deaths and weddings can happen in a short space of time so prepare to accommodate all eventualities even if you are not of sound mind.

3. Not updating your will

Almost as bad as not having a will is not having an updated one. Imagine you were to win big at one of the top online casinos like iPhonecasino.com.au, yet not make provision for where the extra money would go if you die? Family situations can change over time and an updated will with relevant bequests is vitally important.

4. Not planning for minors

If you have children under the age of 18 you will need to nominate personal guardians to look after them in the event of your death. If no pre-appointed guardian is elected, a court may decide where a child should be placed and who is responsible for their education and well being.

5. Not having enough cash in your estate

It is vitally important to have an estimation of how much cash needs to be in your estate to cover expenses when you die. Your funeral, creditors and executor fees will need to be paid, alongside any other taxes and legal obligations you may need to settle. If there is insufficient cash in your estate some of your assets may have to be sold to defray expenses.

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--by Beth Heikkinen
Marquette, Michigan
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