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Estate planning errors to avoid

Even though estate planning is important, many residents of British Columbia make a number of errors around it. Here are a few of the most costly ones.

One error is failing to keep a will updated. Individuals sometimes make a will but forget to alter it in case of divorce, births, deaths or changes of residence. Wills should be reviewed whenever there are changes in financial, familial and other circumstances, but it is also a good idea to review the document yearly to make sure it remains current.

Another error individuals make is creating their own wills. Doing so can seem like a way to save money, but there is a great deal of room for error with a will that is not prepared with the assistance of a lawyer. From using words that don't have the legal connotations that the individual intended to leaving out important parts such as naming an executor or accounting for all assets and more, a DIY will can be a mistake in the long run.

Finally, one of the biggest errors of all is failing to write a will at all. Most adults do not have a will, and this means that their estate will be distributed according to government law. In such a case, spouses and children may not receive the inheritance desired by the benefactor. Furthermore, common-law spouses may receive nothing.

As a result, it is important for an individual to prepare a will. Things to consider include whether an individual has remarried and wants to make sure that their children get the bulk of the estate and who will be the best choice of executor. A lawyer can assist in ensuring all points are covered.

Source:, "What Not to do in Estate Planning," Elaine Blades, Aug. 25, 2014

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