Author: Steve Fine

#12 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Designations

Failing to Update Beneficiary Designations Retirement accounts, life insurance and annuities all avoid probate with a designated beneficiary for each account. These beneficiary designations will override any contrary instructions in a will or trust. These accounts can represent a substantial portion of an estate and need to be coordinated with other aspects of your estate […]

#11 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Digital Assets

Neglecting Your Digital Assets Increasingly, people are living more and more of their lives in the virtual / digital / online world. However, many estate plans fail to include directions regarding these digital assets. Many bank accounts, social media and email accounts are assets with financial or sentimental value which can only be accessed online. […]

#10 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Not Discussing Your Estate Plan with Your Family Many people make the critical error of not discussing their estate planning, and why certain choices were made, with their family prior to their passing. Communication is especially important when your plan includes unequal asset distributions among your children. A failure to communicate often causes hurt feelings […]

#9 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Discussion

Not Discussing Your Estate Plan with Successor Trustee / Personal Representative You may wish to keep your estate plan confidential, but that is likely a mistake. A lack of communication is a frequent cause of estate plan failure. Living trusts and wills are written in technical legal language. Your successor trustee / personal representative may […]

#8 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Alternates

Failing to Name More Than One Successor Trustee / Personal Representative Estate planning is about “what if?” Your plan should include designated backups / alternatives for all of the key players, including successor trustee / personal representative. Estate plans fail because people make presumptions about the order of death and availability of people to take […]

#7 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Trustee/Representative

Naming the Wrong Successor Trustee / Personal Representative Your properly drafted and fully funded living trust may not achieve your goals if your successor trustee fails to follow (or understand) its provisions. Many people name one or more of their adult children as successor trustee without fully considering whether he or she is best suited […]

#6 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Attorney

Not Working with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Many people attempt to save money on estate planning by getting a do-it-yourself trust agreement online. Or selecting the attorney who offers the lowest price, regardless of experience. A better value is to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who will craft your estate plan to […]

#5 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Not Funding

Not Funding Your Living Trust Living trusts must be funded to avoid probate and the need for guardianship. “Funding” a living trust means completing the process of retitling your assets from your individual name to the name of your trust. Funding includes both assets with titles (like real estate) and those without titles (like household […]

#4 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Incapacity

Failing to Plan for Incapacity Estate planning includes much more than just determining the distribution of your property at your death. It includes planning for your physical care and management of your property at your incapacity as well. Planning for incapacity includes powers of attorney for health care and finances and an advance directive. It […]