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Without meeting certain requirements, wills may not be valid

When Massachusetts adults consider planning for the future, they may draft certain documents. Through wills and other tools, they can outline what they want to happen to their personal property after they pass, name a guardian for minor children, protect assets for the future and more. Even in thorough estate plans, certain mistakes can invalidate plans or make things difficult for beneficiaries. To avoid unpleasant surprises, it is prudent to make thoughtful decisions while planning or carefully review existing estate plans.

One common estate planning mistake is not understanding the plan. Every adult has the right to decide what will happen with personal property and health care decisions, but it's important to completely understand what the terms mean and how they could impact an individual and family member in the future. Another common misstep is failing to update beneficiary designations after life changes. Divorce, remarriage, a death in the family and other life events could necessitate changes in an existing estate plan.

Mishandling trusts is a common error Massachusetts adults make with their estate plans. Trusts should be coordinated with retirement plans, beneficiaries should be up to date and living trusts should be properly funded. Additionally, it is necessary to include or update powers of attorney, a step that will allow an individual to plan what will happen with medical care and finances in case of incapacitation.

Through wills, trusts and other types of documents, an adult can have assurance regarding his or her future interests. Estate planning can be complicated and emotional, and it can help to have experienced legal guidance when drafting or updating plans. This support can prevent mistakes that may prove costly and stressful long-term.

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