The danger of waiting too long to do estate planning

Some people never get around to writing a will or planning their estate until the last minute, when they have grown old and have a serious illness.

Other people write a simple will when they’re young, but never review or update it until something happens that makes them think that death is imminent.

While any estate planning is better than none, the vast majority of mistakes and problems occur when people procrastinate planning their estate and then try to do it in a hurry.

If you wait until the last minute, it might be very difficult to locate all the documents you need to properly execute an estate plan. And you might not have sufficient time to take advantage of all the techniques that are available to save taxes and properly take care of your heirs.

In addition, last-minute changes to your will can be very disturbing to family members. A great many will contests are the result of heirs whose expectations were upset by eleventh-hour amendments.

Estate planning is a critical part of your overall financial planning. Most people would never buy a stock or other investment and then completely ignore it for 20 years. In the same way, you should review and update your estate plan every few years, or whenever there’s a significant change in your circumstances.

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