Significant estate planning mistakes to avoid

Georgia residents may not enjoy the process of estate planning, but it is necessary to protect one's assets and ensure they are passed down correctly. Over a lifetime, an individual may accrue a variety of assets such as brokerage, bank and social media accounts. If those accounts are protected by passwords, it is important that those who are left behind are able to access them. Ideally, all relevant documents, passwords and other important information will be kept in one place.

Depending on what a person has, it may be possible to store this data online. A key estate planning mistake to avoid is to think that it shouldn't be reviewed after it is created. Life events such as a divorce or a marriage could render a trust or other document obsolete. Plan documents may also need to be revised after a person has a child or has children from multiple marriages.

It is also a good idea to make sure that beneficiary designations are done correctly. If a person is named as the beneficiary to a bank or brokerage account, he or she is the beneficiary no matter what a will says. Furthermore, it may be best to name just one person as a beneficiary to real estate or other tangible assets. Otherwise, it could result in arguments between adult children or other family members as to what should be done with the property.

When done correctly, estate planning may make it easier for survivors to adhere to a person's final wishes. Individuals can take steps now to maximize the chances of this happening. For instance, they might organize important papers or take steps to update a will or trust as events occur. While a person may create an estate plan on his or her own, it may be easier to do so with an attorney.

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