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10 Mistakes You May Be Making

Now that the markets and economy has stabilized and estate sizes may have changed, as well as the fact that the estate tax laws may change significantly over the next 2 years it is time to revisit our estate plans.Following are the top 10 errors I see people making with their estate plans.If we are making one of these errors, now is the perfect time to make the proper changes.

Top 10 mistakes People make with their estate planning

  1. Not having a current will or trust.

There really isn’t a need to add an explanation on this one.We all know we should have a will or trust in place, but like a financial plan, doing it can be seen as a pain or nuisance.Based on my experience, let me just state that it is much more of a pain and nuisance for your loved ones that have to deal with your estate when there is no will or trust.

  1. Choosing wrong Guardian 

Choosing a guardian in many cases can be the most difficult part of preparing estate plan.There are many variables that come into play when deciding this very important decision.However, in many cases the ability of the guardian to manage money for the children is not considered.In cases where this maybe the case, consider using a corporate trustee over the funds to ensure proper money management. 

  1. Not naming back up trustees 

We have seen this issue many times and the cost and inconvenience can be significant.Trustees can back out or refuse to take the trust for many reasons. 

  1. Not funding trusts 

Why have a trust if it isn’t funded.The entire estate settling process may be twice as hard and costly if there is a trust not funded correctly.There is usually a “pore over” section of a trust to include limited assets not necessarily specified in the trust.However, people should not rely on that to account for all assets. 

  1. Not coordinating beneficiary designations 

Most estates include non IRA accounts, IRA accounts, Insurance, and other assets (real estate).In many cases people have different beneficiaries on IRA and Insurance investments than what is desired in their trust or will.Beneficiary designations on IRAs and Insurance take priority over those stated in a will or trust.

  1. Not taking advantage of gifting exemptions and/or gifting wrong assets 

Gifting tax laws are currently advantageous for high net worth individuals.Understanding these tax laws may save significant tax dollars.Gifting should be reviewed to understand if it best fits your objectives.


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The Virtus View is a weekly to bi-weekly e-mail publication that Brian authors in order to keep you updated on the current market situation.
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