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The biggest estate planning mistakes

California residents may want to take the time to write a will and create an estate plan so that their family members do not have to let state intestacy laws decide how their assets should be divided. The single biggest estate planning mistake that a person can make is not doing any estate planning. However, polls show that most Americans make this fundamental estate planning mistake.

A survey that was conducted earlier in 2016 determined that nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults have not written a will. Many of the people who admitted that they had no will also said that they believed they didn't need one. Even people who have written a will often fail to update it, which can be just as bad as not having one in some cases.

Not having an updated will could result in a person's assets being distributed to the wrong people. While the absence of an updated will may be the biggest estate planning mistake, it is also a big mistake to overlook the needs of beneficiaries in an estate plan. A person who leaves all of their assets to their children without setting up trusts for the children that need them might create problems in the future.

Some beneficiaries may need a trust to protect their inheritance so that they do not spend everything at once or make poor investment decisions. A beneficiary who has special needs may also require a trust so that money can be set aside for their medical and living expenses. An attorney can help clients determine the types of documents that are most appropriate for their particular circumstances.

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