There is wisdom, in all areas of life, in learning from the mistakes of others.
When it comes to estate planning, mistakes (oftentimes innocently made) abound.
This issue was taken up the thestreet.com’s in a recent article titled “How to Avoid the Most Common Estate Planning Mistake.”
So, what is THE most common mistake?
Beneficiary designation dysfunction (otherwise known as "B.D.D.).
Did you know beneficiary designations are outside the control of wills or revocable living trusts.
It is true.
Regardless the provisions in your will or trust, the beneficiary designations on your life insurance, retirement funds, transfer on death (TOD) and pay on death (POD) accounts have a life and "mind" of their own.
Can you say "upset the estate planning apple cart"?
And estate planning "surprises" can trigger hurt feelings at best and spur litigation at worst.
Very few families are immune.
As a result, you need to figure out a way to create an estate plan that helps you protect everyone you love and everything you have, then explain that estate plan to your children or heirs.
The fundamental starting point to any successful estate plan is a will and, when appropriate, a revocable living trust.
These legal instruments detail what our loved ones are to receive from your earthly riches and how they are to receive them.
The is an old saying that a person who represents himself (or herself) has a fool for a client.
Use online estate planning services at your own risk!
By the way, listen to the advertising disclaimers for online estate planning services, just like those "side effect" disclaimers at the end prescription of drug commercials.
The bottom line takeaway from this article?
There must be "alignment" between your estate planning legal documents, your beneficiary designations and your estate planning objectives for your loved ones.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you connect all of the dots.
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), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: thestreet.com (October 31, 2015) “How to Avoid the Most Common Estate Planning Mistake”