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Missteps could make an estate plan less effective

For some Florida residents, avoiding an uncomfortable topic may allow them to feel more like it does not exist. For example, if individuals do not think about funeral arrangements, health scares, end-of-life wishes and other similar topics, they may think that they will never have to deal with those matters. Of course, you likely know that is not the case and that a sudden serious event could happen to anyone.

Because you know that your time could come suddenly, you decided to create an estate plan. While this is a beneficial step to take, it is important to remember that even a plan created with the best of intentions could fail to help surviving family members or to preserve your wishes as you had intended.

How could an estate plan not work?

In many cases, an estate plan does not serve its intended purpose — whether in whole or in part — because the person who created it did not follow through with steps needed after the creation of planning documents. For instance, the following missteps could easily render your well-intentioned plans moot:

  • Not updating your plan after going through a significant life event, such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child or grandchild, or another important milestone
  • Not reviewing and updating your plan periodically, even without a major life event, to ensure that you still want what you put in your plan years ago
  • Not funding trusts you created to hold certain assets
  • Not staying updated with estate planning laws and changes that could affect your plan
  • Not discussing your plans with your loved ones so that they know what you want and why you want it

If these errors affect your plan, when the time comes for your family to follow your instructions, they may feel confused by outdated information or even find points to argue over because they expected something different. Unfortunately, your plan may cause strife rather than the smooth closing of the estate you intended.

Following through is essential

Fortunately, you could avoid many of these missteps by simply following through with your estate plan. Funding any trusts you create, updating your plans every few years and talking with your family could go a long way in ensuring that your plan fulfills its purpose when the time comes.

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