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Avoiding common estate planning mistakes

For most Ohio residents, taking the time to protect their future is important. A vital part of one's current and future life is their finances. While we cannot predict what life will bring or what our assets will look like at the time of our deaths, it is still important to take precautionary steps to protect your property and assets after your passing. Developing an estate plan, however, is not always an easy task. And for some, it is easy to rush through it or fall for common misconceptions and pitfalls.

Thus, it is crucial that you are aware of the common estate planning mistakes and what steps you could take to avoid them. For example, trusts have been known as the estate planning vehicle of choice in the U.S. While drafting a trust can be an important step to take, this document alone cannot make all you potential worries go away. In some cases, individuals are found using rusts are will substitutes. However, using a trust is not the same as having a will or a comprehensive estate plan. Additionally, a trust alone will not help you avoid other mistakes made in the estate planning process.

A common mistake individuals make is not naming the right fiduciary. When naming a trustee or an executor, many decide to name a close family member. While there is trust between family members, this tends to place a huge burden on that family member. Thus, it is often better to name a professional with the background experience for this role. This will ensure your needs are met and no issues are caused to a loved one. Another mistake people make is failing to consider their tangible personal property.

Other mistakes include not accounting for digital assets, titling assets improperly and ignoring family discord. Finally, one major mistake individuals make is failing to continually update their completed estate plan. Because life can bring about many changes, it is important to update your future plans based on these changes. Whether it is a marriage, divorce, birth or death, these events could significantly alter you intent in an estate plan.

Even if you view the estate planning process as necessary and are willing to initiate it early in life, it is important to consider all the steps that are involved in the drafting process. It can become complex and confusing, making it vital that you take the time to fully understand the process and what rights you have.

Source: Forbes, "Avoid These 6 Estate Planning Mistakes," Oct. 2, 2017

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