How to Stop Making Estate Planning Mistakes
We say it all the time – the best way to learn is to make a mistake. However, it is really nice to see when others also agree with this advice. Please take a look at the article below. Because, as we know, estate planning mistakes in Leawood are all too easy to make. This sounds easy and can avoid a lot of problems later.
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How can I Avoid (and Quit Making) Estate Planning Mistakes?
We all make mistakes, right? The key is to learn from them and not repeat them.
Even better learn from the mistakes of others. The biggest mistake to avoid is to avoid having an estate plan. Period. Curiously, a recent CNBC survey found that 38% of folks who have investable assets exceeding $1 million have not engaged professional help with their estate plan. Can you say “the bridge is out?”
The Street’s recent article, titled “Mistakes You Need to Stop Making,” warns that this failure to make proper estate plans risks leaving a big old messes for loved ones left behind to clean them up. And attorneys can get very expensive in “clean-up” mode. So, what are some common mistakes, according to the article?
Mistake 1: Not Signing a Will. Even those who are proactive in their planning sometimes forget to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. For example, some go to the time, effort and expense of having a will drafted … then never sign it. No, really. While signing the will becomes a priority when a health crisis or other serious life event strikes, it is too risky to wait. Bottom line: Get that will signed yesterday!
Mistake 2: Tax Faux-Pas. Federal estate tax laws exempt taxes on estates with assets below $5.43 million per person. This has lured many otherwise bright taxpayers into thinking “no estate tax, no need to estate plan.” Wrong. There are a number of non-tax estate planning benefits for estate planning. While you will want to read the original article for yourself, the list includes avoiding financial disputes about the inheritance, protecting assets from creditors and lawsuits, and donating to charity. Do not forget – “state estate taxes” are part of the process, too. Your state might have a much smaller estate tax exemption limit than the federal exemption.
Mistake 3: Negligence/Being Out-of-Date Failing to keep your estate plan up-to-date is another dangerous mistake. You do, after all, keep your automobiles, home and even cell phone up-to-date and current. Make sure that you do a review with your estate planning attorney any time a major life event happens. These events include, but are not limited to divorces, deaths in the family or the births of a grandchildren. By far, the best way to avoid (and quit making) estate planning mistakes is to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can steer you clear of common mistakes and the mistakes made by others.
So, how do you find an “experienced” estate planning attorney? First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources. Second, conduct an “organic” search on “Google” for “estate planning” near you (e.g., “estate planning Overland Park KS“. Third, either way, verify. Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her. How? There are two helpful resources just a mouse click away to assist with your due diligence: Avvo.com and Lawyers.com. Check any Avvo ratings, client ratings/testimonials and attorney endorsements on Avvo.com and any “peer ratings” by judges/other attorneys and any client ratings/testimonials on Lawyers.com.
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