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Not having a plan may be the biggest estate planning mistake

At this point in your life, you may find yourself going back and forth between deciding whether it is time to create an estate plan or if you even need one at all. This debate is one that many Illinois residents certainly have, and a misunderstanding of the benefits of estate planning may add to the hesitation of creating a plan of your own. If you think that estate plans are only for people with a substantial amount of money, you do not have the right information.

Estate planning can offer benefits to anyone. It has many purposes that go far beyond simply deciding what should happen to your assets after your death. Because of these various uses, individuals of all income levels and of any adult age could find creating a plan useful. As you consider how to begin your planning process, you may want to work toward avoiding these possible errors.

Failing to create a plan

Not having an estate plan in place could easily stand as one of the biggest planning mistakes. Without making your wishes known, state laws governing the distribution of your assets will take over. As a result, individuals who you may not have wanted to receive your property could potentially end up with your assets.

Of course, as mentioned, your estate plan can handle more than just your assets. If you did not create an estate plan and become incapacitated, your family may not know what your wishes are when it comes to making health care and financial-related decisions. Additionally, the court will likely place someone in charge of these decisions if you did not take the time to appoint a trusted person yourself.

Picking the wrong executor

If you do create a plan, you have jumped that possible mistake hurdle. However, while planning, you have the opportunity to name an executor to handle the affairs associated with closing your estate. You may feel like you have to choose a family member out of a certain sense of obligation, but you could benefit from remembering that the role of executor is one that has many responsibilities. If you choose the wrong person for the job, he or she may not have the ability to handle all the necessary tasks.

Potential for other errors

Because estate plans can cover so many areas of your life, numerous possibilities for errors exist. Therefore, you may want to understand your planning options and choose the best tools for your estate. Speaking with an attorney may help you ensure that the decisions you make suit your needs.

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Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law