# 1 Mistake: Failing to Address Health Care Decisions
- No addressing health care decisions can create conflict among family, guilt, no directions, cause delay, and unexpected costs.
- An Advanced Directive can identify the decision-makers you want, can provide for end of life directives, and makes clear statements of intent to your loved ones.
#2 Mistake: No Plan to Control Financial & Property Matters During Incapacity
- Without appropriate legal documents to manage your assets during incapacity, a court supervised “conservatorship” is probably inescapable.
- No plan creates time consuming problems that are expensive, cumbersome, emotionally trying, and is public record.
- Avoid a conservatorship during your incapacity with by establishing a Trust. A trust allows you to appoint a trustee to manage your financial affairs and thus can avoid the need for an appointment of a conservator.
- Avoid a conservatorship with a Durable Power of Attorney. An individual can delegate the agent the power to make financial transactions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves.
- Powers of Attorney should be well-thought out in order to be effective, productive, and achieve the principal’s overall objectives.
- Provisions that are often left out without careful drafting are: power to sell home, care for pets, power to fund trusts, and powers regarding U.S. mail.
#3 Mistake: No Wealth Transfer Strategy
- A Wealth Transfer Plan is tailored to the assets you own.
- It accounts for your unique family situation and is designed to streamline transfer of your assets quickly and cost effectively.
- A Living Trust holds and passes assets without probate, provides for asset management, and deals with disability and death.
#4 Mistake: Failure to Understand & Plan for Death Taxes
- You may be surprised how big your estate is. It includes your home, retirement plans, life insurance, real estate, investment accounts, autos, boats, RVs, furnishings, collections, and personal effects.
- With appropriate tax planning in your estate plan, you can avoid losing money planned for loved ones to the federal government at your death.
#5 Mistake: Thinking Children – Minor and Adult – Don’t Need Inheritance Protection
- What if your child becomes instantly “rich” at age 18? Or suffers a divorce? Experiences creditor problems? Or gets sued?
- A Trust can protect your child’s inheritance. The adult child becomes co-trustee or eventually trustee of their trust. The child has significant access to income and principal and there are few strings attached.
- The benefit of a children’s trust is to protect inheritance from future divorces, from lawsuits, bankruptcy, personal injury claims, IRS, etc. You can also protect your child from spend-thrifting.
#6 Mistake: Failing to Transfer Values
- Traditional estate plans mainly focus on transferring assets, reducing taxes, and administration costs.
- A comprehensive estate plan adds ethical wills, incentive trusts, involves children in the process.
#7 Mistake: Not Preserving Tax Deferral Benefits of Retirement Plans
- Most of your retirement account could be subject to immediate taxation on death.
- The longer your beneficiaries can keep funds in an IRA after death, the more wealth they can create.
- Find out if your IRA can be stretched to prolong ownership.
- An IRA Legacy Trust can protect and increase wealth by keeping funds in a tax-protected IRA as long as possible.
- There is a huge loss when your IRA is cashed out early and spent.
- An IRA Legacy Trust is revocable, established now by the IRA owner, is the beneficiary of the IRA at Owner’s death, and is separate from your Living Trust.
#8 Mistake: Failing to Organize and Consolidate
- Without organization estate administration can cause delays and increased costs.
- There may be a lack of communication, inability to locate assets, redundant accounts, or no central repository.
- Be organized with an estate planning portfolio repository, consolidate your accounts, had have emergency document access.
#9 Mistake: In Second Marriages, Failing to Protect Your Souse, and Your Kids
- Problems with living your money to your surviving spouse can be a problem if that spouse is a spend-thrift effectively disinheriting your children, or your spouse is victimized by a gold-digger decimating your estate.
- There are solutions with proper estate planning. A trust can pass the inheritance to your spouse and your children instead of spouse’s new spouse or your son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
- A trust can provide income and principal to your spouse for life in accordance with their needs. Then income goes to your children per your choice.
#10 Mistake: Failing to Plan for Tangible Personal Property
- The most common fights after your death is regarding your tangible personal property, sentimental items, reminders, photos, jewelry, artwork, collectibles
- A solution is to create clear communication and a clearly articulated process for your property.
#11 Mistake: Access to Medical Records
- Don’t fail to plan for HIPAA, which locks down private health care information.
- Medical personnel face stiff penalties and are reluctant to provide family members access.
- A special HIPPA authorization ensures access to medical information.
#12 Mistake: Believing Estate Planning is a “One-Time Event”
- Estate planning is a lifetime process.
- There may be personal and legal changes that occur, requiring updates to your plan.
- Lasting relationships are key, and making sure your plan grows with you.
We offer a full Wills and Trusts package with fee ranges to suit your individual needs and investment and a free consultation to determine if we can help you meet your goals. Contact attorney Feliz Martone to begin your unique plan.