There are two important dimensions to getting something done right: knowing what to do and knowing what NOT to do. What about your estate plan?
Maybe you have yet to start and maybe you have been working with an estate planning attorney for some time and piecing together some foolhardy designs. Either way there are some basic types of blunders that can befall anyone not wary enough to look for them.
CNBC compiled a short list of blunders well worth your consideration in a recent article titled “The 5 Biggest Estate-Planning Blunders”
- Picking the wrong people will make the worst of your plans, whether because they are not dedicated, not capable or even not trustworthy. You need to ensure that only the right people hold your durable power of attorney or serve as executor or trustee.
- Leaving the wrong assets to your estate rather than passing them outside of probate. For example, do not leave an IRA to your estate. Anything with a beneficiary designation can generally do half the work for you and be passed outside of probate (and outside extra taxation), so long as you use it correctly. This leads naturally to 3 below.
- Failing to name your beneficiaries and keep them updated. With an ex-spouse listed on an IRA, you will accidentally leave it to them, and that is just one poignant example.
- Failing to make your end-of-life medical decisions though a health-care directive. This is one of the easiest to put off because it can be amongst the most difficult to think about – incapacity, feeding tubes, and death. Oh, my! However, not having put a decision to paper often means leaving it to the hospital’s discretion or forces you family to decide (and potentially argue).
These are a few (of many) potential blunders and examples of what not to do in Overland Park and elsewhere. There is much to think about and much more NOT to do. In the end, it all depends more on what your actual goals are.
One more thing not to do: do not fail to invest the time to figure out what you ought to do.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: CNBC (April 14, 2014) “The 5 Biggest Estate-Planning Blunders”