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Poor planning causes big estate administration problems

One of the biggest mistakes residents of Oklahoma can make regarding the future for themselves and loved ones is to not plan or properly plan for end-of-life and after-death estate issues. Failure to plan not only puts your heirs in complex estate administration situations, but it can also hurt your own enjoyment of the last few years of your life. Understanding the legal requirements of your state and what tools are available for estate planning is the first step toward a better future for you and your family.

Many people think a will is enough to ensure proper estate planning. Though a will is important in laying out end-of-life wishes, there are other tools you can employ to protect your assets and ensure your desires are met. Some documents and legal tools that might come into play during estate planning include wills, trusts and both medical and financial power of attorney.

The benefits of a clear estate plan include conducting effective financial transfers during and after your life, reducing taxes for yourself and heirs, avoiding costly and time-consuming probate cases and giving yourself peace of mind about the future and the status of your loved ones. Estate documents also let you make charitable contributions in keeping with your own beliefs, plan for the well-being of minor children and pass specific pieces of property to those who will cherish them most.

In addition to understanding how estate planning tools work together, it's a good idea to review your documents on an annual basis. Changes may be required when major life milestones are reached. Consider changes when one of your named heirs passes away, if your financial situation changes abruptly or if there is a significant change in familial relationships.

Source: Fox Business, "The Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Make" Kelly Tragesser, Apr. 07, 2014

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