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Avoiding a very common estate planning misstep

Frequent visitors to our blog are likely aware of how important estate planning can be. Not only can this process help you to ensure that your wishes regarding property are known in the event of your death, this process can also help to ensure that your medical wishes and end-of-life care preferences are known as well. It can help you guard your property against certain taxes after your death and it can help to ensure that your wealth is distributed in accordance with your priorities and values.

It is important to understand that once you have created an estate plan, your work is not done. While creating an initial plan is an important step in estate planning, it is not the only step you need to take. Estate plans are generally meant to be living documents. This effectively means that your estate plan may be edited, altered, added to and interacted with as your life circumstances change.

Some documents within an estate plan are largely off-limits to edits once they are executed. However, other documents may change as often as you need them to. Still other documents will be left largely untouched save for one important factor. If you marry, divorce or experience the unfortunate loss of a spouse, child or other close loved one, you will need to change the beneficiary designations related to that individual within your estate plan.

Forgetting to change beneficiary designations is a common misstep that many Americans make. Unfortunately, this misstep can affect the proper execution of your estate plan specifically and your wishes in general. It is therefore important that you take time to update beneficiary designations whenever doing so is necessary.

Source: Next Avenue, “The Big Estate-Planning Goof You May Be Making,” Harper Willis, Dec. 13, 2013

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