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Mistakes in estate planning

Estate planning can be used by people in New York to protect their assets for future generations. However, there are some common estate planning mistakes they should take care to avoid.

Putting off creating an estate plan may be one of the most significant mistakes people can make. If the proper tools are not in place when the unexpected happens, what happens to an estate will be determined by the laws of the state in which the deceased person resided. The laws of intestacy will determine to whom assets will be distributed and the manner in which they will receive them.

Another common mistake is not periodically reviewing any estate planning documents that have been created. There can be many reasons why the document should be updated. Changes in estate tax laws and a person's life circumstances may make existing estate plans inadequate. Individuals can make sure that their wishes are adhered to by occasionally reviewing their estate planning documents.

Having the wrong beneficiary designations or names on the titles of assets can also complicate the transfer of assets to heirs. Regardless of what is stated in a will, whoever is listed as a beneficiary for assets like life insurance or retirement plans will receive the assets. It is important that individuals review and update their beneficiary designations for their assets.

Revocable trusts that are not funded or do not hold assets do not exist. This means that what the trusts were established for will not be accomplished.

An attorney who practices estate planning law may advise clients of which legal documents are necessary to ensure that their preferences are honored and their assets are protected. Depending on a client's assets and goals, the attorney may explain the use of powers of attorney, living wills, trusts and health care proxies.

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