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What estate planning mistakes should I avoid?

If you're currently estate planning in Illinois, you probably know how important these documents are. While it's crucial you have an estate plan in place, it's also important that you take the proper steps to avoid common mistakes, which can render things like wills and trusts invalid. U.S. News & World Report offers the following advice in this case.

Be careful about leaving inheritances to young people

If you're leaving an inheritance to a child or young adult, be wary of how you leave the money. Many people who receive a lump sum of money end up squandering it, especially when they lack important financial wisdom. Instead, leave the money in installments to prevent frivolous spending. It's also a good idea to have a talk with your child about their inheritance, which allows you to advise on good money management.

Don't forget to fund your trust

Putting property and assets into a trust takes several steps. As a result, if you forget to actually fund your trust certain items will be left out. With property, you'll need to change the deed to show the name of the trust, while with financial accounts you'll need to change ownership into the name of the trust. You may also need to create a schedule of items, which lists all assets owned by the trust. Your attorney can explain the steps you need to take in greater detail to ensure your trust is valid.

Revise your estate plan as needed  

Just because your estate plan reflects your wishes today doesn't mean it will in the future. Go back every three years or so to make sure wills, trusts, and other documents are all current. A death in the family, new marriage, or other event may impact how you want your estate plan to be set up. Also, don't forget to revisit your beneficiary designations on your financial accounts when updating your estate plan.

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