Thursday, May 17, 2012

7 Major Errors in Estate Planning* - Part 1 of 7

A recent article in Forbes listed one author’s opinion of the 7 Major Errors in Estate Planning. 

The 7 Major Errors were listed as:
1.       Not Having a Plan
2.       Online or DIY Rather Than Professionals
3.       Failure to Review Beneficiary Designations or Titling of Assets
4.       Failure to Consider the Estate and Gift Tax Consequences of Life Insurance
5.       Maximizing Annual Gifts
6.       Failure to Tax Advantage of the Estate Tax Exemption in 2012
7.       Leaving Assets outright to Adult Children

I have proposed to my colleagues that we take turns discussing these 7 errors and how to remedy these problems for our clients.  Naturally, I’m taking the first error, since it is the easiest, but you’ll hear from me again before we have completed all seven.

NOT HAVING A PLAN

This one is easy to fix.  Get a plan.  It’s probably an over-generalization, but most estate planning firms offer free consultations.  See an attorney and learn what is involved and how much effort and cost is required to get a plan in place.  This error universally applies to all individuals, whether old, young, married, single, wealthy, with children, without children, etc.  In Nevada, we usually recommend revocable/living trusts for property owners in order to avoid the probate process in Nevada courts.  Other important elements to an estate plan in Nevada include a pour-over-will, a healthcare power of attorney, a directive to physicians (or living will), and a financial power of attorney.  A good attorney will also provide assistance and advice on how to “fund” your trust with the proper assets in order to accomplish your goals.

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