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Frequent estate planning mistakes that should be avoided

Good estate planning can go a long way to ensure that all of the testator's final wishes are carried out. However, even a solid estate plan can be undone by simple careless mistakes that may not be obvious to many individuals. So here are two common estate planning errors that should be avoided at all costs.

A very common estate planning mistake is to not prepare for the possibility of becoming disabled. Many people develop an estate plan for the sole purpose of distributing their assets once they die. But what happens to these assets if they become disabled? If the disability covers a long period of the testator's life, it may cause extreme financial hardship for them as well as their family. The estate plan should name someone who will have power of attorney and take care of the testator's financial concerns. It should also name someone who can take care of their children and make medical decisions for them.

Another estate planning error is failing to specify gifts in the estate plan that can help lower the amount of estate tax that needs to be paid. The Internal Revenue department does allow for reduced taxes for gifts that are given to spouses or other individuals, businesses and institutions. These estate gifts can go a long way to reducing the estate's tax burden and leave more money in the estate itself.

There are many more everyday estate planning mistakes that should be avoided including choosing the wrong person to handle one's estate. However, any Florida resident who is putting together an estate plan may want to speak to an estate planning attorney in order to steer clear of these blunders.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Ten common estate planning mistakes to avoid", Accessed Jan. 18, 2015

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