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Top Estate Planning Mistake #7: Over reliance on one estate planning tool

Top 10 mistakes in estate planning

  1. Not having an estate plan at all
  2. Not planning for disability
  3. Using online forms for your estate planning
  4. Not transferring your life insurance policies into a trust
  5. Failing to fund your trusts
  6. Underestimating the power of trusts
  7. Over reliance on one estate planning tool (TOD)
  8. Not updating your estate plan.
  9. Putting your child’s name on the deed
  10. Not planning for business succession

We make mistakes, as people that fact is one of our defining characteristics.  The secret to being successful is:  (1) learning from your mistakes to ensure you don’t make the same one twice, and (2) learning from other people’s mistakes so you don’t have to make the same one once.  Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the top 10 mistakes that people make with estate planning in the hopes that we can support each other to learn from the mistakes of others, so they stay ONLY the mistakes of others.

Top Estate Planning Mistake #7:  Over reliance on one estate planning tool

I often refer to an estate plan as a wall.  It is a wall that is used to protect your loved ones and your property, so truthfully, it isn’t […]

By | November 17th, 2016|0 Comments

7 Biggest Mistakes Federal Employees Make in Estate Planning

 

As federal employees you have kept us safe, gotten us educated, and kept us moving. Please remember, that while you are working hard to take care of us, you also need to take care of your loved ones with a good estate plan. The following list of mistakes is not in any particular order or importance or priority.

Mistake #1: Failing to make a plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. You specifically, NEED an estate plan.

Mistake #2: Failing to update your plan.

If you have a will, you are head and shoulders ahead of your peers, but if your plan isn’t complete or isn’t up to date it may not do what you need it to.

Mistake #3: Underestimating the power of trusts.

A trust is a powerful tool. It can avoid probate, it can make sure you don’t have to call 18 different places to make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date, and in some cases it can protect your property from creditors AND stupidity.

Mistake #4: Not understanding the tax consequences of your actions.

There are some actions you can take in an attempt to provide for your loved ones are provided for can create a huge tax bill and a […]

By | August 19th, 2016|0 Comments

Top Estate Planning Mistake #8: Not Updating Your Estate Plan

Going to have an attorney create an estate plan for you and your family can be hard.  There are psychological barriers, financial barriers, time constraint barriers, and leg work barriers.  Looking at all the things that make it difficult to go from “I really need to get an estate plan in place” to “Look at my shiny new estate plan” I understand why I talk to so many responsible people who have never found the time or motivation to come and talk to me about their estate planning needs.  That being said, I will likely never understand who folks who have succeeded in the original process, fail in the upkeep tasks to ensure that the plan they have created and paid for does what they need it to do.

I can’t tell you how many times I have a conversation where I relay that I am an estate planning attorney, and the other person tells me, “I am so glad I had my estate plan done, it’s such a relief knowing that those things are taken care of”.  I hear those words and I am instantly overtaken with conflict.  On the one hand, I want to tell them that they have […]

By | July 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

Top Estate Planning Mistake #9: Putting your child’s name on the deed

We make mistakes, as people that fact is one of our defining characteristics.  The secret to being successful is:  (1) learning from your mistakes to ensure you don’t make the same one twice, and (2) learning from other people’s mistakes so you don’t have to make the same one once.  Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the top 10 mistakes that people make with estate planning in the hopes that we can support each other to learn from the mistakes of others, so they stay ONLY the mistakes of others.

Top Estate Planning Mistake #9:  Putting your child’s name on the deed

Land is a strange thing in the eyes of the law.  Really, all property in the world can be classified into two groups:  (1) Real estate, and (2) everything else in the world.  Because land is different, a lot of us feel a special connection with our real estate and we want to make sure that the “family home” stays in the family.  Even folks who don’t do any other types of estate planning at all will often try to do something to provide for the way any real estate they own should pass.

Many times, I […]

By | June 21st, 2016|0 Comments

Top Estate Planning Mistake #10: Not Planning for Your Business

We make mistakes, as people that fact is one of our defining characteristics.  The secret to being successful is:  (1) learning from your mistakes to ensure you don’t make the same one twice, and (2) learning from other people’s mistakes so you don’t have to make the same one once.  Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the top 10 mistakes that people make with estate planning in the hopes that we can support each other to learn from the mistakes of others, so they stay ONLY the mistakes of others.

Top Estate Planning Mistake #10:  Not Planning for Your Business

When starting a business, I was told that there isn’t a lot of different between a newborn business and a newborn baby.  It didn’t take me long to understand what was meant, and I bet every entrepreneur reading this post is head nodding thinking back to startup.  My business started as a whining, sometimes smelly, little nothing that grew into a real accomplishment.  It took up way more of my time than I could have ever imagined.  It required sacrifice and work.  It grew as a result of the care I gave it and in the shape of […]

By | May 4th, 2016|0 Comments

It’s not the Economy, stupid…(this time)

A recent article in MSN money identifies a common problem with estate plans. Since 1995 the practice of treating different children differently in an estate plan has become more and more popular. Further, the evidence is clear that this practice has put a lot of stress on a lot of surviving familial relationships. As a matter of fact, I have seen instances where family members have sworn to never speak to each other as a result of a dispute regarding an estate. It isn’t hard to understand that a lot of feelings, and a lifetime of family dynamics can be tied up in these final wishes. While the rest of the world looks at these as financial transactions, they can be very personal evidence to a perceived prejudice for or against another beneficiary. Is Mom’s estate plan the final proof that she loved little Timmy more than she loved you? Maybe, but probably not. My experience has been that it is far more likely that Mom knows her kids better than anyone else on the planet knows her kids, so she knows that little Timmy is going to need more financial help than you are.

Really, that’s the rub. There […]

By | March 21st, 2016|0 Comments

Estate Planning: Once Upon A Time

We love our families. It is rare that an attorney gets to make an unqualified statement, but I feel pretty safe about that one. Just about everything we do is done for the benefit of our families. We work hard so our families will have what they need. We take our kids to school so they can learn what they need to be successful. We tuck those same children in at night so they will know that we love them. We love our families. As I was tucking my own daughter in the other night, I was reading her a story when it dawned on me how many of the “Once upon a time’s” we share start out with a hero or heroine who has lost one or both of their parents unexpectedly. It is a running joke in Disney movies about how it is impossible to find two living parents. Think about it, Elsa and Anna of Erindale, Snow White, Cinderella, Tianna, Tarzan, Aladdin, Mowgli and how many others are single parent or no parent households. Don’t think the animal heroes are any better off Bambi, Nemo, and Simba are all similarly situated.

After that realization really sunk in, I […]

By | March 7th, 2016|0 Comments

Justice Scalia and the Estate Planning Process

This weekend one of the most controversial figures in the history of the United States Supreme Court passed away.  Whether you hang on every word written by Justice Antonin Scalia, or you cringe at the thought of the vitriol that is reasonably expected in each of his opinions (and it seems like there is little middle ground between the two opinions), It is impossible to argue that he hasn’t helped form the political landscape over the past thirty years of his tenure on the Supreme Court.

He dedicated almost half of his life to the service of our nation on the Supreme Court, but, for an estate planning attorney, this is the time where we can determine how strong his legal game really was.  Sure, he shaped the discussion regarding search and seizure, and sure, the train wreck of campaign finance reform has his fingerprints inextricably etched thereon, but now is when we see how well he really practiced what he preached.  Often it is the case that the mechanic has the most broken down car on the block, not because he lacks the knowhow, but because he spends so much time fixing everyone else’s car that he neglects his own.  […]

By | March 7th, 2016|0 Comments