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Estate planning mistakes to avoid

Some Floridians might assume that they've done everything necessary to properly prepare their estate plans. However, there are still small errors people might make that can cause problems. For example, estate owners should make sure their beneficiary designations are filled out correctly for retirement accounts and life insurance policies.

Another common error is failing to fund trusts properly. If assets are not correctly titled or if other necessary actions are not taken to add them to the trust, they will have to go through probate. Furthermore, estate owners should be aware of which assets are owned collectively with rights of survivorship since these do not pass using a will or trust. Errors with both trusts and beneficiary designations can also have negative tax consequences.

It's important to talk to family members and financial professionals about estate planning. To that end, the estate plan should be accessible to family members and any fiduciaries. An attorney may be able to advise as to the best solutions. Finally, estate plans should be kept up to date and reviewed regularly since assets and family situations may change and require a revision to the plan.

It's best to avoid thinking of the estate plan as a static thing that can be done once and then forgotten about. Instead, it's better to think of it as something that may need refinement throughout a person's lifetime. For example, after one has young children, the main concern may be appointing a guardian and setting up a trust to protect assets for the child. Older adults may be concerned about setting up a charitable legacy and saving on estate tax. An attorney can help with all of these efforts.

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