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Estate planning mistakes are far too common

Rochester residents who are considering their options for estate planning might not see themselves as similar to people who are famous or frequently in the news. However, mistakes that prominent people have made with such issues as considering their heirs, will planning and having a valid will can easily be replicated by "normal" people. With this in mind, it is wise to plan. This is imperative for those who are thinking about the future, their family and the assets they have accrued whether small, medium or large. A part of that is considering how famous people have erred and taking steps to avoid the same fate.

Not having a will is a common mistake that people will make. According to research, almost two-thirds of Americans do not have a will. Such luminaries as Abraham Lincoln, Pablo Picasso and the recently deceased Prince did not have a will when they died. With that, the assets might end up distributed in a way that the person did not intend. There could be disputes among family members after the fact and these can be expensive, time consuming and contentious battles. Another problem that people have is a will that is not current. When the will is signed, it must be updated frequently as circumstances change.

Some people will not account for taxes as they are considering estate planning. While there are brackets for certain amounts of inheritances, there can still be complications with taxes. Items that are of sentimental or financial value might end up being sold because of mistakes with wills and their planning. Personal property is commonly overlooked when estate planning. Examples in recent memory include comedian Robin Williams and his memorabilia. These items might have significant value and forgetting them can cause headaches to the heirs later on.

It is not easy to think about one's own death, but if there are loved ones to consider and items of great value that have to be distributed, it is a disservice to them not to make sure that the estate administration is organized for that day.

Source: USA Today, "Don't make these celebrities' estate-planning blunders," Kelli B. Grant, Nov. 5, 2016

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