Top 10 Estate Planning Mistakes By Kenneth A. Piercey, Estate Planning Attorney
We have reviewed over 5,000 estate plans and are frequently asked “What are the most common mistakes you see?” See if you have heard anyone say this …
10. Not having a plan. Sounds obvious… Since the death rate is 100%, it is wise to plan for this event. We have seen “No Plan” result in huge amounts spent unnecessarily in death taxes and legal fees.
9. Having a plan that no longer suits you. A Revocable Living Trust is needed to avoid probate, but I have seen some plans that only contain a will. Or, after reviewing a trust we will meet with the folks and report on what their current plan says. Often their response is “What? I never wanted that…”
8. Missing the mark, and the point. An individual’s plan involves a Revocable Living Trust, but assets were never transferred. A consequence of this mistake is that a probate will be required to get the assets into the trust. It was never the person’s intention to have a trust that misses the main point — protecting assets!
7. Procrastination. Later may be too late. You must be alive and able to make clear decisions to properly complete your estate planning documents.
6. My estate is worth what?!? Another mistake folks make unintentionally is thinking they have less than they really do. It is surprising that life insurance, retirement plans, appreciated home equity, inheritances and even coin collections are included in their taxable and probate estates.
5. All to my spouse. While this principal works great in a marriage, it could put your spouse in serious trouble. This often happens through joint tenancies. For those with larger estates, this can result in estate taxes starting at about a 50% State and Federal combined rate-completely unnecessary!
4. Disinherit the IRS. Is the IRS one of your (unintended) beneficiaries? The federal estate tax is voluntary (yes, I said voluntary). Anyone can avoid it, no matter how large the estate. We have about 50 absolutely above board planning tools and techniques in our tool box that we have used in the past 25 years to disinherit the IRS.
3. Generosity begins at home. You never see a hearse towing a U-Haul. Since we can’t take it with us … might there be a better financial solution that gives greater benefit to your beneficiaries and your favorite non-profit?
2. Believing the Myths. One myth is that your estate will not be probated if you have a will; another is that probate is no big deal; another myth is that there is no way to legally avoid estate taxes.
1. “Generally speaking” can have dire consequences. Choosing just any attorney to prepare a trust may lead to serious problems. Trusts and Estate Planning are our specialty. Our 56 years’ experience practicing law includes 35 years specifically in Trust and Estate Planning.
Company Name: Piercey & Associates, Ltd.
Contact Person: Kim Aruajo
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Address:1525 S. Grove Ave., Suite 204
Country: United States