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Common mistakes during end-of-life planning

It's important to get the details right when planning your estate, for the simple reason that you won't be able to fix them yourself after the fact. This post will focus on six common mistakes and how to avoid them.

The first of these estate planning mistakes is procrastination. It is easy to say that you will have time later, but we have no say what will happen in a year, month or a week. It's never too early to make a plan.

Another common mistake is choosing the wrong healthcare proxy. While it is important to name a person to make health care decisions if you are unable to speak for yourself or become incapacitated, it is essential to choose the right person. Some loved ones might feel too overwhelmed with this role and may not be able to properly advocate for you.

A third mistake is getting lost in the details of the process. It is clear that a million potential scenarios could play out, but you cannot spend too much time considering all the possibilities.

A fourth mistake is not discussing the plan with your doctor. If you are drafting an advance directive or a power of attorney, it is important to discuss these documents with your doctor. If they do not know they exist, how can they follow them if the time comes?

A fifth mistake is not expressing your wishes to your loved ones. The details of your will and other estate planning documents should not come as a complete shock. By having a conversation, serious disputes and issues can be avoided.

Lastly, one common mistake is not updating your plan. A lot of things can change in your life and those of your loved ones between the time you make your plan and the time it comes into effect. If your estate plan is not updated to reflect these changes, it can lead to loved ones being left out, or other unhappy scenarios.

Planning for the end of your life is not an easy process. Nonetheless, it is a necessary task to complete and will help ensure your wishes are followed at the time of your death.

Source: The Huffington Post, "6 Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Your End-of-Life Planning," Karen M. Wyatt, April 12, 2016

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