Estate Planning is important for everyone no matter their age or socioeconomic status. If you don't have an Estate Plan, you are leaving yourself, your assets, and your loved ones unprotected in the event of your disability or death. Here are the most common mistakes people make with regards to Estate Planning.
- No Plan: The most fatal mistake in most instances. Approximately 60% of Americans have no plan!
- No Incapacity Planning: Incapacity planning is a foundation of Estate Planning. Prepare for personal health care and financial decisions in the event you or a loved one becomes incapacitated. Avoid probate expenses and keep private matters private!
- No Back-Up Parents: Children are our most valuable assets. Make legal arrangements for your children to continue receiving the care you intend for them in the event they are orphaned. Designate Back-Up Parents and instructions on how to rear children into adulthood.
- No Inheritance Protection: Without inheritance protection planning as part of your comprehensive Estate Plan, your hard-earned assets could be squandered by your surviving spouse's new spouse, your children/grandchildren, or lost to their divorces, lawsuits, or bankruptcies.
- No Basic Estate Planning: Understand and utilize federal death tax exemptions. Exemptions are not automatic. It requires careful legal planning and careful monitoring of the economic, political, and legal climate.
- No Gift Tax Planning: Often overlooked and therefore underutilized opportunity under the tax code to transfer wealth is the annual gift exclusion. There is no gift tax owed by either the transferor or the recipient.
- No Estate Planning for Life Insurance: Life insurance is a fundamental financial tool for most Americans. Its purpose ranges from supporting surviving family members to providing liquidity to satisfy federal/state death tax obligations or myriad other uses. One of the greatest tax myths is that life insurance death benefits are tax-free.
- No Probate Avoidance Planning for Multi-State Real Estate: Real estate is subject to probate in the state where it is located. Accordingly, if you own real estate outside your home state, then you could be facing probate in multiple states. This can be avoided through proper legal planning in advance.
- No Income or Estate Tax Planning for Retirement Plans: Much of American wealth is in the form of Qualified Retirement Plans (QRPs). Without careful coordination between your financial plan and your Estate Plan, more than 50% of your QRP could go to the IRS instead of your loved ones in the form of income and estate taxes.
- No Asset Coordination With Trust: Coordination is key in creating a strong Estate Plan! Failed plans are more expensive than no plan!
Sundvick Legacy Center has been providing Estate Planning services to our community for more than 25 years. We offer free consultations - if you need an Estate Plan or need to update an existing one, contact us today. The right time to have a current, comprehensive Estate Plan is now.