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Common Mistakes When Considering Estate Planning

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Contrary to what you may believe, estate plans aren’t just for those people that have significant assets. If you have at least one thing of value, including a home, car, or bank account, you need an estate plan. Not only will it give you peace of mind, but it can also make sure that your assets are passed on to the people you want.

Estate planning is more than just deciding who gets what after you die. It includes planning things during your life that can create safeguards for your assets and protect your financial security. It is important to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney to help you make informed decisions about your assets now and for years after you’re gone so you don’t make the following common mistakes:

  1. Believing that you don’t need an estate plan. Many people mistakenly believe that they don’t need an estate plan because they think they don’t have enough assets, but an estate plan involves much more than what you own. Documents like advanced medical directives and living wills should be part of any estate plan. Deciding who makes decisions and what happens if you become disabled should also be included.
  2. Not having an estate plan. All people who die in Florida need an estate plan. If you fail to prepare one yourself, the state legislature has prepared one for you. This means that things can be very confusing because they may not have the beneficiaries included that you may have wanted.
  3. Working on your estate plan “later.” You need an estate plan no matter how old you are. If you become disabled, or after you die, you won’t be able to decide what happens to your estate. To avoid the stress of not having an estate plan in place, it is important to meet with an attorney to have them create at least a basic plan for your estate.
  4. Not updating your will or trust. When changes take place in your family, such as a death, divorce, new property acquisitions, or birth, it is important to update your will or trust accordingly. If you fail to do so, your assets may not be left behind as you intended.
  5. Choosing the wrong person to handle your estate. Sometimes the individual that you want to handle your estate is not always the best person to do so. Even if you’d like your child or spouse to handle things for you, there may be someone else that isn’t as personally invested in the assets to handle things when you’re gone. Discussing your situation with a trusted, experienced attorney that can help you determine who might be best for your needs is imperative.

Consult with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney to Avoid Mistakes

Planning your estate can be complex but covering all your bases is extremely important. Failing to plan your estate appropriately can result in unnecessary hardship for you and your family. Estate planning requires a team of professionals. You will need to consult with an attorney to draft the necessary documents, and possibly get advice from your insurance agent or accountant. If you haven’t begun planning your estate, there’s no time like the present to get started. Tampa attorney David Toback has extensive experience handling estates both big and small and can help you secure your future. Contact him today for a consultation.

Resources:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0736/Sections/0736.0105.html

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0732/Sections/0732.501.html

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