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Be sure to avoid these estate planning mistakes

Estate planning is one of those things no one wants to do, but everyone has to do. While you may have some concerns about the process, once you're on the right track you can make informed and confident decisions that benefit you and your family.

It's not always easy to avoid common estate planning mistakes, but knowledge of what could go wrong will help you do just that. Here are five mistakes that many people have made before you:

Neglecting to create an estate plan

"I am too young to create an estate plan." "I don't care what happens to my estate once I am gone." "My family will figure everything out for me." If you've uttered these things in the past, you may be one of those people who has neglected the estate planning process. You don't want to leave your estate in the hands of someone else or the court. Instead, take full control while you have the ability to do so.

Forgetting to update your estate plan

Don't assume you can create an estate plan and then forget about it for the rest of your days. You need to review it annually, ensuring that it still meets your requirements. Things can and will change as you age, and your estate plan may require some adjustments as a result.

Not planning for incapacity

You can create an estate plan that helps in the event of your incapacity, such as through a power of attorney. This gives someone the ability to make financial and medical decisions for you if you can't do so yourself.

Forgetting to name a guardian

What will happen to your minor children if you pass on? Naming a guardian guarantees that the right person will raise them until they reach the age of 18.

Choosing the wrong executor

Don't trust just anyone to be the executor of your estate. Choose someone who is reliable, responsible and trustworthy. This can be a family member or close friend. Just make sure you're 100 percent confident in the person's ability to handle the process.

Avoiding mistakes is just the first step

You can get serious about estate planning or assume that everything will work out in time. When you take action today, such as by learning more about your legal rights and the steps to take, you'll immediately feel better about what the future will bring.

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