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Mistakes in estate planning can be harmful

Washington residents are wise to plan for the future through the use of estate planning tools and consumer information, but they should also be aware of unique situations that can occur under estate law that may frustrate the purpose of an individual creating a will, filling out an IRA form or taking other estate planning steps.

One man had his intentions misdirected by such an intricacy in the law and his intended beneficiaries, his children, missed out on a $400,000 inheritance because of it. While the man had taken many steps in preparation to ensure that all of his assets went to the people he designated, he made one simple mistake. Before he passed away, the man filled out an IRA beneficiary form. His intent was to make his children his beneficiaries under that form. However, under the space for beneficiaries he wrote "to be distributed pursuant to my last will and testament" where he was supposed to actually list the name of each individual.

Unfortunately, this was not an acceptable way to fill out the beneficiary form. He should have listed his children's names and the percentage of the IRA each was to receive. Because he filled out the form incorrectly, the form was invalid. The money instead went to his wife, who had married him just two months before he died.

Washington attorneys skilled in estate planning understand the complexities and potential frustrations regarding estate law. These experienced professionals have the ability to make certain that documents concerning end-of-life decisions are valid and make the proper designations.

Source: Yahoo Finance, "Man's mistake costs his children $400,000 of an IRA inheritance" Jeanie Ahn, June 27, 2014

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