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Six Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not just for the wealthy elite.  Most of us have something of value like a car, a home or money in the bank and would benefit from having an estate plan put in place.  Not only can an estate plan help to maximize the value of what you will pass on to your heirs and beneficiaries, but it also allows you to make informed decisions about what happens to your assets while you are still alive.

Here are six common estate planning mistakes to avoid:

1.      Not Making Your Estate Plan At All

The most common mistake people make when planning for the future is not making an estate plan.  None of us will escape death so detailing a thoughtful and thorough plan for what you want to happen after you pass away is essential.  Creating an estate plan will ensure that both your financial and personal affairs are handled properly and in accordance with your wishes.

2.      Forgetting to Update Your Will

Changes occur frequently within families and businesses.  For example, the birth of a child, a divorce, a death or the acquisition of new property.  When these changes take place, it is important to ensure that you make periodic updates to your will so that your assets are allocated to those you wish at the time of your death.

3.      Forgetting to Plan for Disability

Death is not the only reason you should establish your estate plan.  Unexpected disability due to injury or illness can potentially have a big impact on your affairs.  Planning for disability includes making decisions about who should administer your finances, care for your children and make decisions about your healthcare if you are unable to do so yourself.  If you become incapacitated, having a living trust in place or appointing a power of attorney in advance will help to alleviate some of the stress during an otherwise difficult time.

4.      Designating the Wrong Person as the Executor of Your Estate

Choosing the right person to handle your estate is an important decision.  You might think that your child or your spouse is best suited to be the executor of your estate but it may be wise to consider someone else who is not personally invested in your affairs to take on this role.  It is important that your executor handle the duties required in an objective manner and because of this, your close family members may not be the best choice.

5.      Putting It Off

When it comes to estate planning, it is easy to procrastinate and put things off until it’s too late.  There are many reasons why people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning – many of us find it difficult to think about the inevitable.  However, putting your estate plan in place is sure to alleviate some of the stress and discomfort associated with thinking about death and will allow you to focus on the present.

6.      Not Meeting With An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Many people are unsure of where to start with the process of estate planning or are overwhelmed by the thought of drafting an estate plan of their own.  It is advised that you seek help from an experienced estate planning attorney to help you put together your estate plan.  At Fingeret Law, we can help guide you through the process of estate planning and can answer or clarify any information that is unclear.


To discuss your specific needs and to find out how our estate planning attorneys in Pittsburgh can help you, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.

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