3 Terrible Estate Planning Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Estate planning tends to get pushed to the back burner, as more pressing financial tasks take center stage. But neglecting estate planning is a huge mistake.

Estate planning may involve hiring an attorney or financial advisor, but plenty of people make the mistake of going about estate planning on their own. Some 38% of those with investable assets over $1 million haven't used a professional to help with their estate planning, according to a CNBC survey.

"Most people don't want to think about dying," said Ryan Wibberly, CEO of CIC Wealth based in Gaithersburg, Md. "Part of your financial planning needs to include a discussion about the next generation and wealth transfer."

That aversion to confronting reality leaves vulnerable those who are trying to secure the financial future of their family.

Mistake 1: Not Signing a Will

Even those who are proactive in their planning don't always tie up lose ends: some people, for example, write a will but never actually sign it.

"I have seen instances of individuals waiting years between the drafting of a will and the individual actually signing it," said Nicole Hart, director of trusts and estates at New York-based Sontag Advisory. "Oftentimes, it becomes a priority only when there is a health scare or some other life change." 

That's risky thinking - Hart stresses the importance of having a signed will in place before something urgent arises.

Denis Horrigan, partner of Connecticut Wealth Management, based in Farmington, Conn., echoes this mistake many of his clients make.

"Far too often, I see a well thought out, beautifully designed, and expensively drafted estate plan created - that may never be implemented," he said.

Meanwhile, another estate planning no-no surrounds taxes.

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