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Estate planning mistakes can be avoided with careful preparation

It is estimated that less than half of all adults have documents in place that state how their heirs will be provided for after their demise. For those with minor children, only around 35 percent have undertaken estate planning. Unfortunately, without these vital documents in place, the state will determine how New York residents' assets and property will be disbursed after they have died.

Once one has decided to draw up estate plans, the next issue is ensuring that they are crafted correctly. According to financial planners, there are several common errors that can be made during the planning process. The first is to have no plans in place. If there is significant wealth involved, then the lack of plans could cost heirs in the form of estate taxes. In addition, not having either a power of attorney or a health care directive in place could mean that one's business cannot be conducted or health care wishes will not be carried out.

Another possible mistake is not selecting the best guardian for minor children. An older relative may not be the best choice as age and health of the guardian may become an issue. Along with not having the most appropriate plans, not ensuring that they are updated after life changes could make them irrelevant. In addition, many believe that distributing assets equally is best; however, the needs of heirs may dictate a different plan.

Other possible mistakes relate to improperly titling assets, especially when a trust is set up. Furthermore, it is important to include all parties when establishing plans so that nothing of importance will be overlooked. In many circumstances, it may be best to ensure that heirs are aware of a future inheritance so that they will plan according. New York residents who are attempting to undertake estate planning may seek assistance in order to ensure that they settle on the plans most suitable for their needs.

Source: financial-planning.com, "Financial advisors say clients are making these estate planning mistakes", Amanda Schiavo, April 12, 2018

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