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#25 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes – No Records

Lack of Record Keeping Estate planning is partly about making things easier for your family to close out your estate following your death. However, many successor trustees / personal representatives end up spending a lot of time searching for information which was not properly organized. They need to inventory your estate or trust assets, so they need to know what you […]

#24 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes – Not Reading

Not Reading Actual Estate Plan Legal Documents The only way to be certain that your trust, will, powers of attorney and advanced directive do what you want is to read the actual documents. If you don’t understand something, you can seek an explanation from your attorney. If you need to make a change, you can amend the document. Additionally, how can […]

#23 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes – Financial

Failing to Conduct Adequate Financial Planning A well-drafted estate plan can fail if no assets remain to be managed or distributed. An often-forgotten part of estate planning is financial planning to make sure sufficient income and assets are available to meet your lifetime needs. Your plan needs to include guaranteed sources of lifetime income to meet your living expenses. In addition […]

#22 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes – Coordinate

Not Coordinating Financial Accounts with Legal Documents When talking about estate planning, many people only consider legal documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney. However, estate plans consist of two separate, but related, components: legal documents and financial accounts. The distribution provisions in these components must be coordinated, meaning that both reflect the same goal for the management and distribution of […]

#21 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes – Equality

Treating Beneficiaries Equally, Instead of Fairly Many parents feel obligated to divide their estate equally among their children. And most children feel they should be treated equally. However, this type of equal distribution at death can be unfair for a number of reasons. The children may have substantially different financial means. The parents may have provided more for one child than the […]

#20 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes – Blended Family

Using a Traditional Estate Plan for a Blended Family Your estate plan needs to be suitable for your family. Yet, as reflected in state intestacy laws, “default” estate planning has a clear bias towards traditional families. For example, estate plans for married couples, especially online “do-it-yourself-kits” often follow the “all to spouse” model at the death of first spouse. However, as […]

#19 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes – Children on Deeds

Putting Child’s name on Deed A common estate planning method, and a potentially costly  mistake, is adding your children to the deed on your home as co-owners with rights of survivorship. While this step will avoid probate, it also has adverse tax consequences. Since your children received part of the home’s value as a gift, they will owe more […]

#18 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes – End of Life

Failing to Plan for End-of-Life Issues End of Life Planning is needed so that you retain control of your person. One of the fears shared by many people is a slow death with their life being artificially and mechanically prolonged following an accident or other medical issue. You can avoid this fate with proper planning. The default treatment for medical […]

#17 of 25 Estate Planning Mistakes Long Term Care

Failing to Plan for Long Term Care As people live longer, the number of people who spend some time in a nursing home continues to increase. With costs nearing $100,00 per year, a nursing home stay can destroy your estate and financial plan. Yet many people fail to plan for this increasingly likely event. The result is that you […]

#16 of 25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes – Irrevocable

Failing to Consider Using an Irrevocable Trust Revocable living trusts are designed to avoid probate. They can also eliminate the need to have a guardian appointed if you become incapacitated. They do not, however, protect assets from creditors or shield them from the Medicaid spend down process. Irrevocable trusts, however, if properly drafted and funded, can do both. If either of those […]