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Common Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Avoid!

1. The Case of the Long-lost Heirs.

About twelve years ago an Englishman came to the City of Clearwater to retire. He was unmarried, had no children, and made the big mistake of not preparing a last will and testament. When he passed away, we were asked to handle his estate.

It was necessary for us to do a lot of research to ascertain his heirs. Eventually, his heirs were identified and located. Affidavits, death certificates, and birth certificates had to be obtained and presented to the Court with a Petition to determine heirs. His approximately $160,000.00 was divided between seventeen beneficiaries.

Most likely, this was not what the gentleman would have intended upon his passing, but, due to the fact that he did not have a last will and testament, extended time and costs resulted.

2. The Case of the Twenty-Eight Year Relationship.

A man and a woman they lived together twenty-eight years. All of the assets were titled in her name only.  Upon her death, the assets passed to her heirs at law. They did not pass to her significant other.  How unfortunate.

3. Crossing out and Initialing.

A gentleman had a will and, in his will, he specified a $35,000.00 devise to a female friend. He subsequently had a falling out with his friend, and on the original of his will, he crossed out the paragraph and initialed it.

The question was whether or not that was a sufficient revocation, and the answer is that it was NOT. The person with whom he had the falling out received the $35,000.00.

How simple it would have been for him to add a codicil to the will or a new will written to exclude this person from his estate.

Dennis R. DeLoach Jr.
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