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Common mistakes of married couples in estate planning

Estate plans help provide estate holders with peace of mind that the set process will ensure the proper handling of their assets once they have passed. This is essential for those who desire to provide for or help others even after they pass.

Particularly for couples, an estate plan is important, and improper planning may leave some areas uncovered. To help prevent this, there are a few common mistakes to avoid.

Lacking designations

In most cases, couples tend to designate spouses as estate beneficiaries. While this can work in many cases, it is a good idea to plan for the unexpected and denote additional beneficiaries in case your spouse is not able to receive the estate. Another important designation is the executor of the estate. This party is critical to the proper allocation of your estate, so you should make this choice wisely.

Not updating

After major life changes, be sure to re-examine and update estate plans. Whether you gain or lose assets, need to add beneficiaries or have a change in relationships, it is important to revisit and reestablish the parameters of your estate plan. If you are looking to change beneficiaries, take time to review and revise any other allocation documents that denote beneficiaries, such as for insurance policies and retirement accounts.

Not eliminating old plans

Some parties may assume that creating a new estate plan automatically voids any previous ones, but this is not the case. In fact, multiple estate plans on file may lead to some confusion during the probate process. Therefore, it is important you denote which estate plan is your current one, and that any previous plans or drafts are void.

Avoiding these mistakes may help to cover common ground in estate plans. However, no two estates are exactly the same. Take time to put proper documentation in place for your specific estate needs, and review your plan regularly to make sure it continues to serve its intended purpose.

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Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates

Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates LLC
2356 University Avenue West, Suite 400 | St. Paul, MN 55114
Phone: 651-968-1457 Toll free: 866-442-3092
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