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What mistakes are common during the creation of an estate plan?

Prior posts on this New Jersey estate planning blog have discussed the importance of having a personal estate plan. However, not everyone who could benefit from creating such a plan has done so. Not having an estate plan is one major mistake that many individuals make, but during the creation of such a plan, there are many opportunities for individuals to make other costly errors.

First, an individual may not make an appropriate choice for whom to utilize as an estate plan executor. Family members can make for good executors, but in some cases a desired individual may not have the knowledge, experience, or desire to serve in the important role of an estate plan executor. Having the wrong executor for an estate can cause delays and problems during the administration of the estate.

Second, many individuals who make estate plans fail to update their plans after they create them. For example, the maker of an estate plan could be widowed or could divorce his or her spouse. He could have new children, or a major beneficiary under the estate could become estranged or predecease the person making an estate plan. Changes in the relationships of the testator during his lifetime can make big changes in how an estate is administered. Estates can be modified over time, and many individuals fail to make modifications when they are prudent.

Finally, some individuals poorly plan the organization and distribution of their assets and ultimately fail to take advantage of tax protections. Estate planning legal professionals can help people creating their personal estate plans to account for money-saving, property-protecting techniques that maximize the size of estates at the time of the testator's death.

These are only a few of the mistakes that individuals make during the creation and maintenance of their estate plans. Legal professionals who practice estate planning law can help interested readers address other potential issues with their estate plans and modify those plans to reflect the current goals of their clients.

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