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Watch out for these estate planning and administration pitfalls!

Many Illinois residents reach a point in their lives where they begin to think about the lives of their loved ones' lives after they're gone. Such thoughts often lead to the estate planning and administration process, an easily accessible means for asset protection and documentation of final wishes. The process of planning an estate is customizable; however, there are several common mistakes that should be avoided by all estate owners.

Anyone entering the estate planning process has already avoided one of the biggest mistakes of all, namely, not having any type of plan in place when one dies. Since death is inevitable, those who want to ensure that their affairs are handled according to their wishes will want to execute solid plans; otherwise, someone else will determine what becomes of a particular estate. Discussing the estate planning process, working with someone who is knowledgeable and experienced may help alleviate any worries or confusion that may delay the process of getting a plan in writing.

Many people make a mistake regarding home ownership that can easily be avoided through careful estate planning. By putting a child's name on a home deed, a parent is putting that child at risk for high taxes later. Instead, tax risk can be lowered by working home ownership into an inheritance.

Failure to update an existing estate plan is another common error; staying connected to an estate planning and administration attorney is an easy way to avoid this problem. An attorney can periodically review a plan and, together with the client, make any changes or updates, as needed. Laws vary by state, so clarification of Illinois statutes should be sought before executing a particular plan.

Source: FindLaw, "Ten Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid", Accessed on Oct. 11, 2017

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