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How can I avoid common estate planning mistakes?

An estate plan ensures your family will be taken care of after you’re gone. It also offers peace of mind, as you can rest assured that your assets will be in good hands. That’s why it’s crucial that your estate plan, whether it consists of a will, trust, or both, is valid and free of errors. If there are issues your estate may end up in probate court, which is a costly and often time-consuming process.

According to Forbes, many people make missteps when it comes to things like life insurance policies and retirement accounts. That’s because these assets have beneficiary designations, which are separate from other estate planning documents. If the information on the individual accounts differs from what’s in your estate plan, the court will go by the former. That’s why you must update beneficiary designations to ensure they match your current wishes.

Regarding your estate plan, it’s also recommended that you review these documents every few years or so. You should check in after major life changes, such as divorces, new marriages, giving birth, or adopting. Changes to your financial outlook may also call for a revision, especially if you’ve accrued new assets or property. Your estate planning attorney can help you develop your plan so it meets your current needs.

Trusts are a useful estate planning tool. However, merely setting up a trust is only part of it. You must also re-title assets to show ownership by the trust, or they’ll be subject to probate. For example, your home’s deed should list the trust as the owner instead of you. The same changes should be applied to vehicle registration or financial accounts, and any assets that aren’t changed will be dispersed according to the court.