Three Common Estate Planning Mistakes

As a recent article points out, one of the best ways to learn is from the mistakes of others. In that vein, the article discusses three common estate planning mistakes: (1) failing to prepare a will; (2) failing to update your will; (3) creating a do-it-yourself will.

Failing to Prepare a Will
The single biggest estate planning mistake occurs when a person fails to create an estate plan. If a person dies without an estate plan, his or her assets are divided according to state laws of distribution. While such distribution may have a favorable result for some, for others the distribution may lead to an unwanted result. The only way to be sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes is to draft a valid estate plan that includes a will.

Failing to Update Your Will
After a person has drafted his or her will, the most common mistake he or she will make is failing to update his or her will. You should update your will every few years, and after any major life event. Some life events that should prompt a will review include the birth or death of a beneficiary, a change of residence, a major change in the nature or amount of assets, and a change in health.

Creating a Do-it-Yourself Will
The third common estate planning mistake is crafting a do-it-yourself will. Almost all estate planning experts will recommend hiring an experienced professional to draft your will for you. Simple mistakes in a do-it-yourself will can quickly become expensive and time-consuming ordeals. Some mistakes include improper wording, invalid provisions, improperly calculating amount and value of assets, and failing to dispose of all assets.

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