Maintaining an up-to-date estate plan is necessary to ensure that your assets are properly distributed when you pass away or are incapacitated. However, small errors can create significant problems during the estate settlement process. Sometimes, no one can correct these mistakes. There are several errors you need to look for while estate planning, so you can avoid making them. If you’re a Florida resident, here are some important things you should know about planning your estate.
Update your beneficiaries
Major life changes, like the birth of a child, death of a loved one, marriage or divorce, can all affect who will receive your assets when you pass away. Make sure that you update your will as part of the estate planning process to make sure your property and funds go to the intended parties. When you experience a significant life change, make sure you update your retirement plan, insurance policies and financial documents.
Don’t omit legal documents
You may have taken care of all the necessary aspects of estate planning, but this won’t keep your assets from going through the probate process if the value of your assets exceeds a specified amount. Some assets are legally exempt from probate, such as annuities, life insurance and retirement plans. If you have financial accounts that have payable on death or transfer on death designations, these are exempt from probate as well.
All your other assets are usually subject to the state-mandated probate process. The main instrument used to exempt your assets from probate is a revocable living trust. Be sure to have a trust in place, so your loved ones don’t have to go through the long probate process, which could result in expensive legal fees.