7 Common Mistakes

Seven Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Passing ones assets to the people and charities desired takes planning and the help of an estate planning attorney. These are the common mistakes I see regularly, but in no way all inclusive. Because of my hundreds of clients, I work with widows and widowers every month, consequently I know a little bit of planning goes a long way in helping your loved ones cope successfully.

  1. Failure to have an organized set of instructions. It takes very little time to set-up a set of instructions including what to do first, who to contact, where are important documents, wills, trusts, life insurance polices, investment instructions, etc.
  1. Failure to have an updated will. A will is your desires in writing including naming your executor, providing Power-of-Attorney, and living will.
  1. If owning a trust, failure to have assets owned by the trust it was intended to distribute. Benefits of a living trust include its avoidance probate and the costs and hassles of probate, its privacy and its ability to distribute your assets in the manner you want them distributed. But if the trust doesn’t own the assets or the beneficiary of the asset is not the trust, you have gone to much expense for no benefit.
  1. Failure to coordinate your ownership and beneficiary arrangements with your will or trust. Because you say in your will that you want your bank account to be divided equally between your three children, but you had only one child as beneficiary on the form you signed at the bank, that account will go to the person you named on that form you signed at the bank. P.O.Ds (payable on death), T.O.D.s (transfer on death) and beneficiary forms all take precedence over a will or a trust.
  1. Failure to leave adequate assets to pay the debts of the estate and provide income for your loved one.
  1. In our latter years particularly, failure to consolidate accounts to ease the burden of transferring and selling securities in a reasonably timely fashion. One of my financial planning colleagues experienced this first hand when his own father died, and it took my friend months to locate, sell and transfer many assets from multiple sources.
  1. Failure to take the time today to plan for this eventuality.

Procrastination is the number one human characteristic that keeps these simple steps from being accomplished. It is ok to procrastinate cutting the grass, but this planning is to important to put off one more day. It may never get done. This is what I do when I sit down with you for a consultation. Request one now by clicking here!

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