Saturday, December 5, 2009

Avoiding Estate Mistakes

By Leah Gorham

We often hear news stories about celebrities and wealthy people making mistakes when planning their estates, leading to hardships for their loved ones after they die or sometimes messy fights among heirs. For instance, when heath Ledger died at age 28, he had a will; however, it had not been updated in three years, which was prior to his relationship with Michelle Williams and the birth of their daughter, Matilda Rose. His will left everything to his parents and sister. Thankfully, when concerns were raised to whether or not Ledger's father would properly care for Matilda Rose, he assured the family that he would.

Although many people think that they do not need to worry about estate planning if they are not famous or wealthy, that is not the case. Mistakes such as Ledger's can have a negative impact on anyone. Believing the myth that estate planning is only for the wealthy is one of the top mistakes made in estate planning. Others include, not reviewing or updating your will, not using tax-planning strategies, and not planning for your children. Proper planning can help those to whom you are leaving assets avoid paying high federal income taxes and estate taxes and help avoid confusion.

In order to avoid mistakes in estate planning, there are some important things that everyone should know. First, no matter what your net worth is, it is important to have an estate plan to ensure that your family and financial goals are met after you die. Second, everyone needs a will. Dying without a will - also known as dying "intestate" - can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets. Also, discussing your estate plans with your heirs may prevent disputes or confusion. These are just the extreme basics in estate planning, and in order to learn more about how to make sure your assets are distributed as you wish after your death and that your family is taken care of, you can visit the links below.

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3

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