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Florida residents may want to avoid estate planning fiascos

Estate planning is an important task that is often neglected. Residents of Florida who have their plans in place may not realize the importance of revisiting them from time to time to keep the documents current. A woman recently told her story to underscore the consequences of estate plans that were never updated after the original draft.

Her parents drafted basic estate plans around 1990, including a living trust. They included a detailed list of assets along with locations, account numbers and other relevant information. The surviving spouse was named the sole beneficiary, and upon the death of both parents, the assets were to be divided between their children. The father passed away, leaving the estate to his surviving wife. The family's two sons were divorced, and both remarried, one bringing a stepchild into the family.

When the mother developed dementia, she came into the care of her daughter. Only then did the children realize that the estate plans of their parents did not reflect the remarriages of the brothers, nor the beloved stepchild who was now part of the family. Furthermore, the assets listed at that time no longer reflected the actual state of affairs. Because of the mother's dementia, the court would not allow her to change the will or estate plans.

This is but a broad view of how difficult parents can make the life for their loved ones who have to deal with outdated estate plans. Florida residents may find that although the prospect of drafting estate plans and keeping them up to date might be overwhelming, they need not tackle this task by themselves. With the guidance and support of an experienced estate planning attorney, the task may be simplified.

Source: lodinews.com, "Ken Levy: An estate planning fiasco avoided", Feb. 20, 2017

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