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Estate planning errors to avoid

Although most Pennsylvania residents work hard to provide for themselves and their families throughout their lives, they may neglect to plan for after they are gone. The most common estate planning mistake Americans make is to not have a will. According to a 2016 survey, 64 percent of respondents said that they didn't have a will. One common reason given was a belief that it wasn't necessarily.

However, those who don't have a will have limited or no say over who gets their assets after death. Assets may go to parties who weren't intended to have them while special needs of children or other loved ones may not be met. In addition to having a will, it is important to update it, and failure to do as necessary is another common estate planning error.

As a general rule, a will should be reviewed every two years or as life events warrant. For some, having a trust may make more sense than having a will. A trust can place limits on how and when a beneficiary can receive distributions. A pour-over will can be used to put assets into a trust upon an individual's death.

Those who wish to create a will or trust may wish to consult an attorney prior to doing so. Legal counsel may be able to explain the benefits of a will or trust or talk more about the differences between an irrevocable trust and revocable trust. This may allow an individual to create an estate plan that meets his or her needs as well as the needs of children or other beneficiaries in the future.

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