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Estate planning: don't delay, secure legal help and revisit

In noting a number of salient points recently in an article on financial planning, a personal finance and retirement writer centrally included these tandem admonitions applicable to any would-be estate planner: Don't wait too long to get started and don't forgo the professional help that is "vital" to ensure that objectives are realized both presently and years into the future.

Although Shelly Schwartz makes many additional observations in what is essentially a primer on "what not to do" in the realm of estate planning, they are all encompassed within one unitary theme. Her dominant thesis is that planning needs to be timely carried out and carefully guided by an estate planning attorney with ample experience across the universe of planning considerations.

Errors in planning, says Schwartz, “are costly and common, even among the fiscally prudent.”

And when they occur, they can materially derail a plan, even one that is generally well-considered and executed.

“I could tell you horror story after horror story,” says one commentator adding to Schwartz’s tips on due care when planning.

Tales of woe range widely, encompassing things such as ill-advised beneficiary designations and inappropriate power of attorney selections to unfunded living trusts and time lags that compromise planning opportunities.

An additional point made by Schwartz that is often echoed by many other estate planning writers is that a plan isn’t necessarily foolproof and immutable going forward once the ink dries on the documents that promote its objectives. Indeed, life throws curves all the time, and what is right today could be completely irrelevant -- or at least need tweaking -- in the future.

A proven estate planning attorney can help ensure that important planning considerations are comprehensively identified and attended to, as well as modified appropriately if that becomes necessary.

Source: CNBC, "The 5 biggest estate-planning blunders," Shelly Schwartz, April 14, 2014

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