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Estate planning errors that should be avoided

| May 8, 2018 | Estate Planning |

There are a number of people in Louisiana who could be making estate planning errors. Of course, one of the most common errors is neglecting to have an estate plan at all. If property owners die without a will or a trust, the state determines who gets what assets. Ultimately, this may not be in line with the person’s wishes.

Another important element of an estate plan is preparing for incapacity. Documents such as powers of attorney may be used to appoint people to manage medical and financial decisions when one is unable to do so because of incapacity. However, it may best if an estate holder avoids using do-it-yourself forms for these documents. It can be easy to make an error that invalidates the document.

Some people do not realize that beneficiary designations, such as those used for some retirement accounts and insurance policies, override wills and trusts, so these must be prepared correctly as well. Furthermore, these designations need to fit in with the overall plan. That’s why they need to be reviewed along with the rest of the estate plan every few years or after any major life changes. For people from blended families, it can be particularly important to ensure that all loved ones are taken care of.

If possible, one should also discuss the estate plan with family members. This will help them understand the rationale behind various decisions. An attorney might be able to assist a client in creating an estate plan and deciding whether tools such as trusts might be useful.