VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Mistakes to avoid when creating an estate plan

Creating estate plan documents may make it possible to exercise greater control over where assets go after passing on. Florida residents and others who fail to do so may have their assets distributed according to state law. Therefore, it is less likely that assets will be distributed in a manner that is in accordance with the wishes of the deceased person. However, it is important to note that simply creating estate plan documents may not be enough.

Life events may make it necessary to change beneficiary designations or opt for a different person to act as the executor of the estate. Changes to tax laws over time may make an estate plan more or less effective over time. By reviewing plan documents on a regular basis, it may be possible to make changes that help to strengthen an existing estate plan.

Those who have trusts need to make sure that they are properly funded. In order for a trust to be effective, the assets have to be titled in its name. Alternatively, the trust may be named as a beneficiary to assets a person owns in his or her own name. To increase the odds that the trust is set up properly, assets can be "poured over" into the trust at the time a person passes away.

The use of wills and trusts may help to create an effective estate plan. However, it may be worthwhile to have help when creating them. It may also be a good idea to talk with an attorney to review plan documents after they have been created. This may increase the odds that an estate plan reflects the wishes of its creator now and in the future. Catching errors and correcting them may also reduce the odds of a legal challenge at some point.

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