There are myths and misconceptions about estate planning. Here are the top common mistakes to avoid and help your family save thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes and probate fees:
1. Beneficiary omissions —Not naming contingent or failing to review beneficiaries often enough. This may subject your to probate, creditors and delays.
2. No stretch IRA — No beneficiary on an IRA may mean there is IRA, a valuable tax break that enables who inherits an IRA to draw out distributions over his or her life expectancy if the original beneficiary has died.
3. Forgetting to change an ex-spouse on an IRA — Your new spouse becomes your beneficiary the day you get married, but not in an IRA. This can have disastrous consequences for your new spouse and family.
4. Leaving assets directly to a minor without dealing with guardianship issues — Who will handle their ? The phrase “for their benefit” welcomes a whole host of potentially abusive interpretations.
5. Ownership mistakes and imbalances — If too many assets are in one spouse’s name, it could wreak with tax planning. One spouse may have a much larger IRA and own a house in his or her name only. By shifting the house or investment to the other spouse, the estate more equalized, reducing taxes.
6. Not having a residuary clause — A residuary clause covers items not named in a will or included in a trust. These can include items you don’t yet own but will before your death. Sometimes there are things you might not even know you own.
7. Not planning for the unexpected — There are a multitude of things that could happen, such as a sudden decline in your spouse’s health or a change in your assets. You can address this by having assets go to a trust. You can control how, to whom and when money gets distributed.
8. Not dealing with your own mortality — Don’t leave your family ruined because you don’t want to admit to yourself that you are going to die someday. Don’t make matters worse by failing to plan.
9. Not updating your will —Many changes take place within a family or business structure. Ensure the assets you leave behind are given to the people you intended to have them.
10. Not planning for — An unexpected long-term disability can affect your personal and financial affairs in myriad ways. such as who will your finances, raise your children or make health care decisions on your are essential. It may be necessary to appoint a of attorney or create a living trust to work on your behalf if you’re unable to do it for yourself.
You can benefit from having an estate plan. Not only can it help maximize the actual value of the estate you pass on to your heirs and beneficiaries, but you’ll also have an opportunity to make informed decisions concerning how your assets should be handled while you are still alive.
As experienced estate planning specialists, we can help you get started or answer your questions. Sign up for a free workshop where we teach you how to avoid all these mistakes.
Local attorney, Holly Geerdes, Esq. provides excellent solutions daily to families who value protecting the assets and traditions they have worked their entire lives to achieve. Her firm, The Atlanta Estate Law Center, we take the time to understand each of our client’s needs and desires to continue to take care of their families when they no longer are here or have the competency to do so. Our combination of empathy and expertise are what set us apart. Take the next step and reserve your spot in a workshop today.