No one knows for certain when he or she will die. Therefore, we believe time is of the essence, and estate planning is one of the first areas we review with each client relationship. We believe in avoiding the probate process and often recommend trusts to accomplish this. We refer our clients to estate planning attorneys once we have conducted the estate planning review. Only attorneys who practice estate planning law on a substantially full-time basis are recommended. If you have your own attorney that you would like to use, we will interview the attorney to provide you with an assessment of the likelihood that the attorney's experience and approach will meet your estate planning needs. Ultimately, you decide which attorney to engage. We will respect your final decision and work with the attorney of your choice.
Common Estate Planning Mistakes:
- Failing to execute a will, durable power of attorney and health care directive.
- Underestimating the size of one's estate.
- Not balancing estates between husband and wife.
- Letting a credit shelter trust impoverish the surviving spouse as a result of the 2001 tax act.
- Owning property in joint names.
- Married couples not utilizing trusts to ensure utilization of both estate tax exemptions.
- If trusts are executed, not funding the trusts with assets.
- Beneficiary designations in estate planning documents conflicting with beneficiary designations on retirement plan documents.
- Not utilizing the annual gift tax exclusion to reduce estate size.
- Not gifting during lifetime resulting in greater overall estate/gift taxes paid by the family.
- Retirement distribution elections are incorrect.
- Insufficient liquidity to pay estate taxes.
- No backup executors or trustees listed on estate planning documents.
- Executor and trustee not carefully chosen.
- Not fully utilizing tax exclusions, tax credits, tax deductions and tax exemptions.
- Not leveraging exclusions, credits, deductions and exemptions when permissible.
We have developed a Post-Mortem Letter that you may use as a guide to communicating with your loved ones in the event of your death. It addresses all aspects of your financial life.
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org