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Are you making one of these estate planning errors?

You want your loved ones to be secure after you're gone, so you know it's important to have your estate plans in order well before your death. However, even the best laid plans can be disrupted simply because people aren't aware of the mistakes they're making.

Could you be guilty of one of the following major mistakes when it comes to your estate plans?

1. You haven't updated your beneficiary designations

You may not realize this, but your will probably holds no authority over your insurance policies, retirement accounts and annuities. Those types of assets are usually distributed directly to the designated beneficiaries on the accounts. You may not have updated those in years -- and you should review your designations regularly to make sure they are still in keeping with your wishes.

2. You never funded your living trust

Living trusts (or "revocable" trusts) are part of a lot of estate plans because they help people keep their assets out of probate and a few other things. However, they don't work if they aren't funded. Your attorney may have set up a living trust for you a while ago -- but, did you ever get around to transferring the legal title on your assets over?

3. You've allowed your powers of attorney to get outdated

You need two powers of attorney. One is designed to give someone the authority to manage your finances if you are unable to do so yourself. The other gives someone the authority to make your medical decisions for you if you're unable to make them yourself. When is the last time you looked to see whose name was on the forms? Your relationships with the people you chose may have changed drastically over time, so make sure that you periodically review these forms, as well.

Naturally, these aren't the only big mistakes you can make when dealing with your estate plans, but you can get experienced legal help to guide you away from trouble.

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