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By Cynthia Rignanese
Contributing Writer 

Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid


Last updated 3/23/2019 at 12:23pm

Lake Wales residents should have an estate plan, but estate plans can be difficult for the uninitiated to draw up. There are so many mistakes that people often make in the realm of estate planning. Sometimes these are due to lack of information, other times they are due to the abundance of bad information available on a Google search, social media or by word of mouth. This article will review a few of the mistakes that I have seen in my three decades of practicing law that non-lawyers have made when they put together their own will, trust and estate plan.

I believe that the most common estate planning mistake for Polk County residents is not having any plan! If you have an opinion on what should happen to your assets after your death, or on what end-of-life decisions should be made, you should seriously consider putting together an estate plan because an estate plan should help you make your opinions a reality. And the plan should accomplish your personal goals with the least amount of hassle, time and money for your family.

Another estate planning error is not updating an existing estate plan. New children, new grandchildren plus new assets or properties are all good reasons to update an estate plan. In order for assets to be distributed according to their owner's intentions, is a good idea to update a will from time to time. I recommend an update at the earlier of a change in the family; a substantial change in finances; or every three (3) years.

Loved ones often appreciate gifts, but did you know that giving gifts can be a great way for high-asset people to reduce the amount of federal estate or death taxes paid? As long as the gift stays at or below the annual exclusion amount, there will be no federal gift taxes owed on it. For 2019, this annual exclusion amount is $15,000 from each spouse to each recipient.

Rignanese & Associates is available to work with clients to avoid estate planning pitfalls. We can save your family time, trouble and money if you are incapacitated or pass away. Please reach out to us at 863.294.1114 or via our website at

© 2019 Cynthia Rignanese


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