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Mistakes to avoid in estate planning

Death is as certain as taxes. Individuals from Texas would all benefit from estate planning, but they should be careful to avoid these mistakes.

One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make is for him or her to believe that he or she is too young to need an estate plan. While younger individuals may not have accumulated as many assets as older individuals, there are other important aspects that are part of an estate plan. For example, a health care proxy can appoint a person to make medical decisions in the event that he or she is unable to do so. Another option is to establish a living will that determines specific preferences regarding end-of-life care. Another mistake that some individuals may make is to forget about the impact of taxes on the estate. Since any assets termed as gifts that are worth more than $13,000 will be taxed by the IRS, someone could avoid the tax by ensuring that only that amount of assets gets distributed yearly. Disposing of certain assets before death can help rid the estate of these assets.

Some individuals may not discuss their plans with family members or close friends because they are afraid that some individuals may be disappointed, and this is a mistake. It is better to discuss these matters while an individual is still living so that it is less likely that family will contest the will. Another common mistake is to leave a large amount of cash to individuals in the will. However, a more effective way in which a person can leave behind funds is by establishing a trust.

Texas estate planning lawyers may be able to help individuals by drafting estate planning documents. They may also be able to update an existing plan as life changes occur.

Source: Business Insider, "5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes To Avoid", Mandi Woodruff, October 21, 2013

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