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According to the Pew Research Center, 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day – and will do so for the next 18 years. Unfortunately, a majority of these Americans do not have an estate plan to guide them on making good financial decisions for the rest of their lives and for their heirs, which is #1 on the list of five estate planning mistakes you need to avoid:

1. Failing to plan. No one likes to think about old age or death, but it is inevitable for all of us. If you die with no estate plan, a California probate court will decide how your assets will be divided, who will take care of minor children and other critical decisions you should be making yourself.

2. Failing to consult with an estate planning attorney. The California estate planning process can be complicated, but it can result in keeping more of your assets intact for future generations by shielding them from taxes, creditors and family feuds. Only a qualified California estate planning attorney can design an estate plan that fits your specific needs.

3. Failing to communicate your wishes. Even if you write out a will yourself and tuck it away, there’s no guarantee anyone will find it after you are gone or that your wishes will be respected.

4. Failing to update your estate plan. Every year, new state and federal laws change and could potentially impact your estate plan. Life changes like divorce, death of a spouse or child, or changes in financial condition also impact your estate plan. An annual review with your Orange County estate planning attorney ensures your wishes – and your assets — will continue to be protected.

5. Failing to take taxes into consideration. If you have not done the proper estate planning to cover how estate taxes and debt will be paid after you are gone, your heirs may not receive what you had planned to leave them.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.