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What are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid in Estate Planning and Administration


What are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid in Estate Planning and Administration

Here are several common mistakes people make in estate planning and administration that can potentially cause issues or unintended consequences. 

Mistakes with Estate Planning: 

  1. Procrastination: Delaying estate planning can lead to complications in case of sudden incapacitation or death. Start planning early.

  2. Not Updating Documents: Failing to review and update wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations can lead to discrepancies between your intentions and the current situation.

  3. Not Considering Taxes: Ignoring potential tax implications for beneficiaries or the estate itself can result in a significant reduction in assets.

  4. Failure to Plan for Incapacity: Not having a power of attorney or healthcare directive in place can lead to uncertainty about who will manage your affairs if you become incapacitated.

  5. Incomplete Beneficiary Designations: Failing to designate beneficiaries or updating outdated designations on assets like retirement accounts, insurance policies, and bank accounts can cause complications in distribution.

  6. Not Choosing the Right Executor or Trustee: Selecting someone who is incapable or unwilling to fulfill the duties can lead to administrative problems.

Estate Administration Mistakes:

  1. Not Understanding the Estate's Assets and Liabilities: A lack of understanding of the assets or debts of the estate can lead to incorrect distribution or insufficient funds for settling debts.

  2. Ignoring Legal Requirements: Failing to follow legal procedures and timelines for probate or trust administration can result in legal issues and delays.

  3. Miscommunication Among Beneficiaries: Lack of clear communication among beneficiaries can lead to disputes and prolong the distribution process.

  4. Not Getting Professional Help: Attempting to handle complex estate matters without professional guidance or legal advice can lead to costly mistakes.

  5. Not Keeping Records: Inadequate record-keeping can cause confusion and make it difficult to track assets, liabilities, and distributions.

  6. Ignoring Contingencies: Failure to plan for contingencies or unexpected situations can create confusion and disputes among beneficiaries or heirs.

How to avoid some of these mistakes:

  • Work with Professionals: Seek advice from estate planning attorneys, financial advisors, and tax experts to ensure your plan is comprehensive and legally sound.

  • Regular Review: Periodically review and update your estate plan to reflect changes in life circumstances or laws.

  • Clear Communication: Communicate your intentions clearly with family members and beneficiaries to prevent misunderstandings or disputes.

  • Organized Documentation: Maintain detailed records and documentation of all estate-related matters.

  • Educate Yourself: Understand the basics of estate planning and administration to make informed decisions.


Dorsey's Realty Disclaimer -  Remember, consult with an attorney who specializes in probate and trust matters to ensure that the disclaimer meets the specific legal requirements and addresses the unique circumstances of your situation. This disclaimer is a general example and may need to be customized to fit the specific circumstances and legal requirements of the probate estate or trust you are dealing with. It is always advisable to consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. 

Contact your dedicated Certified Residential Real Estate Probate Specialist Fred Dorsey "Prince of Probate" to schedule a telephone conversation. 301.760.2178


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