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Estate Planning Misconceptions: Five Things to Avoid, By Andrea Claus, Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney

Most people approach estate planning with an enthusiasm ordinarily reserved for a trip to the dentist: you know it’s necessary, but it’s not something you’re eager to do.  The thought that needs to be put into your life, and end-of-life, wishes can be overwhelming.  Although confronting your mortality may not be a pleasant task, a well-drafted plan can carry out your desires and make a difficult time somewhat easier for your loved ones.  There have been countless articles written on estate planning pitfalls and myths, but these are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1

 Thinking you’re too young to put a plan in place.  Those in their 20s or 30s might feel as if they’ve got all the time in the world to plan.  Although younger couples or individuals may not yet have accumulated the assets they deem worthy of a plan, starting early is a good idea.  Not only does it build a foundation for distribution of your assets, a complete estate plan includes documents that explain[DR1]  your medical treatment desires, should you not be able to communicate.

Mistake #2

Leaving too much cash to the wrong beneficiaries.  A good plan is set up to provide funds in a way that will improve the lives of your beneficiaries in the long run.  An inheritance can, in some cases, be burdensome to a minor or an individual with special needs if it is not administered correctly.  Using a trust to distribute assets can provide a level of flexibility in this arena.

Mistake #3

Keeping your plan a secret.  Letting beneficiaries know what they can expect upon your passing can ease tensions at your eventual death.   It’s wise to deal with potential issues while you’re still alive in part because you’re able to answer questions.  In this manner, you are also able to have a say in any squabbles over your personal property.

Mistake #4

Forgetting to factor in final expenses.  There are people who prefer to leave specific cash amounts to their beneficiaries, rather than a percentage of the total estate.  Without planning for final expenses such as taxes, funeral costs, and estate administration fees, one is at risk of trying to give away more than they actually have.

Mistake #5

Failing to keep documents up to date.  It is impossible to plan for every contingency.  Marriage, divorce, birth, or changes in financial or medical status are just a few examples of changes that warrant a review of your estate plan.  Once you have a plan in place, maintenance will keep it in line with your true wishes.

Andrea-C-Web-2013Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Andrea Claus.

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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