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COVID-19 Update: We are working and here to help. The probate courts are open and we are continuing to file cases. Please email Attorney Nicole Morris at [email protected] if you have questions. Stay safe, we will get through this stronger together.

Common estate planning mistakes can cause issues in court

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2020 | wills

The high number of retirees in Florida does not mean everyone has a will or estate plan in place. Even if a person does have an estate plan, there may have made mistakes that can cause issues once they pass away. 

Avoiding these common errors in the estate plan can help ease the burden for the loved ones left behind. 

Forgetting to update key documents 

Forbes lists seven mistakes commonly found in estate plans. People often forget to update their beneficiary designations for retirement accounts, insurance policies and annuities. Failure to update the beneficiaries means someone unintended receives the asset such as a deceased person or ex-spouse. 

Failure to update the estate plan extends to any powers of attorney set in place. Not having both a financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney may leave a person without adequate care should they no longer be able to make those decisions. Choose someone that can make those decisions while keeping the person’s wishes in mind. 

Failing to follow the rules 

Smart Asset mentions that the will must follow a few rules to be legal. If someone is under the age of 18, the will is not legally binding in most instances. Not all states permit a handwritten will. Most states have additional requirements such as a specific number of witnesses. 

People often forget to include additional items on the will. For retirees, guardianship of children may no longer be necessary to include, but do include all assets in the will. Some people may leave out certain items that then fall into probate because of disputes over ownership.