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17 Sep 2014

Common Estate-Planning Mistakes - And How To Avoid Them

Most people realise that they need to prepare their affairs for when they´re no longer here; but so many put off doing so. Although it´s not a pleasant task, estate planning is essential if you want to leave your assets in the best hands, and avoid any debate between family members when you are gone.

Helpfully, a recent article on Forbes explained some of the most common mistakes made when it comes to post-death arrangements.

1. Assuming estate plans are only for the wealthy.

The word ‘estate´ often makes people think of wealthy households; but estate planning incorporates anything from property and assets, to funeral arrangements and who will take care of your children. This means that anybody over 18 should be making a legal plan.

2. Procrastination.

You never know what´s going to happen - so don´t leave estate planning until it´s too late. Not only is this important if you have a fatal accident, but if you become disabled and unable to make financial or healthcare decisions. Making your wishes known (legally) will stop your loved ones from having to go through lengthy court processes.

3. Forgetting your digital assets.

As well as your physical possessions, think about your ‘online life´. This includes digital assets such as cloud-based bank accounts and documents, but also your e-mail and social media accounts. Do you want these to be deleted, transferred to a loved one or perhaps even memorialised?

4. Not being prepared for ‘what ifs´.

The reality is, things can go wrong in life; marriages divorce, businesses fail and loved ones may suffer from health problems or addictions. So once your will is written, don´t just forget about it, as this could mean your money goes to an unwanted recipient.

5. Not fully considering the trustee.

Choosing who will manage your affairs is a big decision to make – not only will they be in charge of your finances, but your family´s wellbeing, too. Choose somebody who is up to the task and ensure they realise the responsibility of the role. You should also have contingencies in place if they don´t meet expectations.

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