LegalJourney Blog

Monday, January 16, 2017

Don't Drop The Ball When Planning Your Estate

CNBC.com published an article by Trey Smith entitled, "Don't Drop The Ball When Planning Your Estate" (Sep 13, 2016). Provided below is a brief summary of the article published at CNBC.com:

Don’t Drop The Ball When Planning Your Estate

People work hard throughout their lives to provide for their families, but many make serious errors in planning - or simply fail to plan - when it comes to passing their wealth to heirs after they die.

To that point, studies show that many Americans old enough to need estate planning have done absolutely nothing about it. This lapse is, of course, the most fundamental error you can make in estate planning.

Five of the most common estate-planning mistakes that can jeopardize your potential for leaving bequests in line with your desire include not having a will, failing to update a will, failure to be realistic about your heirs, overlooking the need for a trust, and choosing the wrong executor or trustee.

Depending on what state you live in and your personal situation, failure to have a will can deliver assets to people other than those you intend. Moreover, the special needs of loved ones that you're concerned about may not be addressed. The point of a will is to document your wishes.

Failure to update your will if you do have one is also extremely common. All too often, people act as though their wills are set-it-and-forget-it documents that never need to be changed — even though their lives change. Let's say that when you make your will, you leave everything to your spouse, confident that he or she will eventually bequeath what's left of your estate to the children you've had together.

Years later you get divorced but neglect to update your will. As a result, depending on the wording in the document and the state you live in, your estate may not go to your children from your first marriage, who by this time may be grown and have children of their own (who might be deserving beneficiaries themselves).

If you remarry and have more children, the estate division gets even more complicated. As your life circumstances change, your will should, too. A good rule of thumb is to review your will every two years. Take it out of the file and read it carefully.

To read about the rest of the five most common estate-planning mistakes, please continue to read the full article “Don't Drop The Ball When Planning Your Estate” from TheTimesHerald.com


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Attorney Karnardo Garnett represents clients with their Estate Planning, Elder Law and Asset Protection needs throughout the Tampa Bay Area, serving all of the bay area, including but not limited to Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Gibsonton, Riverview, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County, FL



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