VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Errors to avoid in an estate plan

While a Florida resident may have an estate plan, that plan may not necessarily be effective. For example, the estate plan could be missing some components. In addition to a will, an estate holder should consider financial and health care powers of attorney that appoint someone to manage finances and health in case of incapacitation.

It is also important to include instructions about what should happen to personal effects. There may be as much or more conflict over sentimental items as items of monetary value. Furthermore, estate holders may want to check their beneficiary designations on retirement accounts since this can be a more efficient way to pass on assets. If a friend or relative has been appointed as trustee, the estate holder might want to reconsider this. Trust management is often better handled by a professional.

It's important to remember that older estate plans might require a review. When family changes occur, beneficiaries may need to be altered too. Estate holders should also review life insurance policies. In addition, people who have moved to another state should update their plans according to the laws of the new residence.

Estate planning often involves making complex decisions. An estate holder with a loved one who could be irresponsible with a lump sum inheritance might want to consider a trust since it can be set up to only allow distributions at a certain time or at a trustee's discretion. A trust may also provide support for a relative who has special needs or for a charity.

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