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Estate and end of life planning are important and involve taking control of your life and the  situation. It is essential to create a plan that avoids many of the common pitfalls and mistakes. It is also vital to create a plan that protects your loved ones and ensures you are aware of common Estate Planning  mistakes so as to avoid them. Whether you are creating your first estate plan or you are updating an  existing plan, get familiar with some of the most recent regulations and what you may overlook in order  to create a flawless plan that accomplishes exactly what you envision while safeguarding your legacy. We  at The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux have taken the liberty in sharing with you common estate planning  mistakes that can be made and how to avoid them.

  • Having a real plan in place.
    • Having a “real plan” is essential! If you do not have a will or trust in place, state  succession laws and the probate process may help determine where your assets go. The  best solution is to be proactive and meet with an estate planner and financial planner to  set up an end of life and estate plan.
  • Ensure your estate plans are being updated over time.
    • Estate planning is not a “set it and forget it” matter. Simply having a plan is not enough.  Estate plans need to be updated after major life events, when your goals shift, or when  public policy changes. For example, if you move to a new state, you may need to review  your estate plan since many legal instruments like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney are  state law driven documents, and moving can cause issues. If a new family member is  born or someone passes away, beneficiary designations might need modifications.
  • Discussing Your Estate Plans with Family and Friends.
    • It is recommended that you have a brief conversation with your friends and family that  you trust regarding your estate planning wants and objectives. Setting expectations now,  where there is an opportunity for discussion if needed, could lessen the likelihood that  there is any contention or disagreement after your passing.
  • Forgetting about Power of Attorney or Healthcare Representatives
    • As we have mentioned in our earlier articles, naming a Power of Attorney (either medical  or financial) and/or Healthcare Proxy is important. These are the designated people who  will step in to make decisions should you become incapacitated.
    • If your Living Will does not designate a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy, make  sure you have standalone documents that appoint a trusted person or people to make  important financial and medical decisions for you.
  • Adequate Record Keeping
    • A living trust is just a part of the complete estate plan. In addition to your trust, your legal  documents should include, at least, a pour-over will, a power of attorney for finances, a  power of attorney for health care, and an advanced directive. Estate planning also includes financial planning and account beneficiary review. These beneficiary  designations need to be carefully coordinated with the provisions of your legal  documents.
  • Consider Your Children’s Futures
    • While your directions may be well-intentioned there are cases where the word could  come back to haunt your children or heirs. If your children are very young, you may want  to include directives stipulating how their guardian should spend their assets.
  • Securing Your Estate Plan
    • The very best estate plan is only as good as your heirs’ ability to find it. Think twice  before putting your plan into a safety deposit box, it can become very complicated when  your loved ones try to gain access after you pass away. Be certain to keep all of your  Estate Planning documents together and in a safe place.

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ plan for a good end of life or estate plan. End of life planning ties  into many areas of your life, so it is important to be proactive and work with a team of qualified  professionals like The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux. Our experienced team has over 25 years of  estate planning experience and can help you devise a plan that will work best for you and your family.  The estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux are ready and committed to  provide you best possible service and support.

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