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The most dangerous estate planning myth

You could argue that one of the most common estate planning myths is that you can do it later, that you'll always have time to get around to it. People do think this way, but most people technically do know -- even if they still haven't done their estate planning -- that they can't predict when they'll need it. Life is fragile.

In that light, one of the most dangerous and common myths is simply that you need to do your planning, divide up your assets, and never think about that plan again. You are all set. Your estate plan is in place. You did it and you can forget about it.

The reality is that you can't forget about it and dividing assets may not be enough. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What if my health changes suddenly?
  • Who can make healthcare decisions for me?
  • What if I suddenly gain or lose significant assets?
  • What if an heir passes away?
  • What if I get married or divorced?
  • What if I have a grandchild?
  • Who can make legal decisions if I can't make them or can't communicate?
  • Have I planned for the end of my life, or just what happens to my assets when I'm gone?

Simply dividing assets is a good place to start, but you can see that it is definitely not all that most people need to do. At the same time, no matter how complete your plan is when you make it, you can't predict the future and it's a massive risk to never update or adjust the plan. Make sure you really know what steps to take to provide for your family's future.

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