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Fixing common mistakes can prevent estate and probate law issues

With so many details to cover, it's easy to miss a step or make a mistake when estate planning. This can lead to major complications when administering an estate under Pennsylvania estate and probate law. Luckily, by paying careful attention to estate plans earlier in life, adults can resolve these issues before they cause conflict or confusion after they pass away.

One of the most common mistakes is not storing estate plans in a known, secure and accessible place. The estate executor should know how to access the plans. They should also be able to understand the plans once they have access. This can be done by providing clear, "bite-size" information that outlines all individuals and assets so there is no second-guessing.

A final common mistake is not updating estate plans during a significant life event. This can include marriage, having a child or purchasing a major asset like a house. When first drafting estate plans, and again any time they are changed, be sure to clarify your wishes verbally to beneficiaries. This not only includes wealth distribution plans but also who will be a health care surrogate as well as the executor of the estate.

Many people are uncomfortable about talking about finances with their children and other family members. Despite the discomfort, communication will pay off in the long run and limit the estate and probate law issues that may arise due to misunderstandings or lack of clarity. Those who need support preparing or executing a will in Pennsylvania should speak to a lawyer in the state with expertise in this arena. 

Source: CNBC, "These costly estate planning mistakes can be fixed", Lorie Konish, May 10, 2018

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