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  • Northern Virginia Trusts & Estates

Common Estate Planning Mistakes

When working on estate planning, it can be very easy to make mistakes.  Common errors crop up all the time, and these mistakes can cause confusion and difficulty in the future.  A well prepared estate plan will protect your assets and save your loved ones a lot of time and work, while an estate plan with errors can cause quite a headache for both you and your beneficiaries.  Below, are the most common estate planning mistakes.

Don’t wait to write a will.  It’s never too early to prepare your estate plan.  Writing a will, outlining your wishes, and discussing your estate and what you want done with it may be a bit morbid, but it is very important that friends and family know and understand your wishes.  You never know when you could become ill or be in a serious accident, and if you die suddenly with no estate plan, your family will have to deal with probate court and other stressful situations.

Keep your estate plan updated.  If you get married or divorced, purchase or sell large amounts of property, or have children, be sure to update your estate plan accordingly.  If your will lists property you no longer own or does not include some of your children, it may be challenged or even declared invalid.

Be sure to have several copies of your estate plan.  You may wish to leave one with your attorney and put one in a safety deposit box.  You should also let your beneficiaries know where copies of your estate plan are kept so that there is no confusion in the event of your death.  Too often, people do not openly discuss their estate plan with friends and family, and this can lead to confusion.

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