Blog Series: Five Easily Avoided Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate planning mistakes are made all the time and usually this is because the financial advisor/accountant/attorney has overlooked important issues. We have chosen to highlight five very common mistakes in this blog series.  All of these mistakes are easy to avoid, as long as you and your trusted advisors know how to recognize them!

It is important to also consult with an attorney in your State in order to review whether or not these issues pertain to you. In any case, it is recommended to ask your estate planning attorney what the most common mistakes they encounter on a regular basis are, and bring up these issues with them for discussion.

Mistake 2 – Believing that having a will avoids probate.

Not true!  Having a will does not mean you don’t have to go through probate!  A will only directs your estate where you desire; in most cases probate is still required when the only estate planning tool is a will.

A big part of estate planning is deciding whether or not you should take steps to avoid probate.  Probate is not necessarily a bad thing, and depends on many factors including the size and set up of your estate and the State in which you reside. In many cases, people choose to avoid probate as it is appropriate for their estate and there are usually legal fees and a significant amount of time required to go through the probate process.

The two most common ways to avoid probate are holding title as joint tenants and holding title in the name of a trust. It is also important to note that in most cases, beneficiaries of life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and annuities, are also not subject to probate.

This is only one common mistake.  Again, please make sure that you consult a competent estate planning attorney to make sure everything in your estate is in order and fits perfectly with your individual situation!

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