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Everyday estate planning mistakes that should be avoided

Many Florida residents know the value of solid estate planning. They understand that by following some simple guidelines, it's possible to steer clear of many difficult legal situations that can develop once a testator passes away. Here is a list of common estate planning mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.

One of the most obvious mistakes is failing to develop an estate plan. Without basic estate documents such as a will and a power of attorney, a person gives up their chance to have their assets divided up the way they want. If these vital documents don't exist, then a court will have to decide how to divide up someone's estate.

Not updating one's will is another mistake that can cause a myriad of problems. Life is change and an individual may have been married several times during their lifetime. Not properly updating one's will means that whoever has been initially named in the will stands to inherit the assets and property that are named in the document, even if the testator no longer wants them to have it. If the testator was married more than once, that means that certain spouses and children may not receive anything.

Other estate planning mistakes include not preparing for a future disability, failing to set up gifts to reduce the estate's taxes and selecting the wrong person to represent the estate. Any of these mistakes can have a serious impact for the surviving family members.

But perhaps one of the most frequent mistakes is failing to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney. This legal professional can sort out any thorny estate issues that may exist and provide guidance that is based on the needs of the individual.

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