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Avoiding common estate planning mistakes

While parents likely have good intentions in mind when setting up a willing and leaving inheritances, common estate planning mistakes can make a process that is already difficult for some to talk about more complicated. Those in Nevada who have started considering their estate plan may be able to avoid complications by considering a few possible issues.

A person's will may include large property and assets, but small items may also merit consideration when dividing an estate. One commenter suggested that a conflict arose in one family's case when a daughter-in-law who took care of her husband's mother removed items from the mother's home after she passed away. The daughter-in-law said the mother told her she could have some items, but the decedent's daughter was the sole executor of the estate and had no knowledge of the arrangement. Eventually, the daughter-in-law was allowed to take items, and an estate sales team valued these possessions and deducted the amount from her portion of the mother's estate.

In many cases, family members are not automatically entitled to a portion of a relation's estate. One should not assume that an inheritance will go to a specific family member who acted as a caretaker or was close to a decedent. Having a plan in place may help transfer assets to an heir legally and efficiently.

Many people do not like thinking about a will or believe a family can figure things out without one, but certain legal considerations make the estate planning process necessary. In addition to clearly stating what one's wishes are, an estate plan could work to minimize the tax burdens an heir might face.

Source: Daily Finance, "Avoid These Estate Planning Nightmares", Michele Lerner, December 13, 2014

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