Avoiding estate planning mistakes

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Estate Planning on Apr 14, 2015.

Estate planning is essential in making certain we preserve our property and pass it along correctly to the people we care for. The law in this area is complicated, however. Mistakes in drafting a will or not having assets properly sheltered leads to complications, expenses and possibly not even having our wishes carried out.

Estate planning serves dual purposes. It allows for preservation of property and assets passed onto our loved ones. It also allows for us to have money during our retirement years or during a period of time when we are unable to work or care for ourselves.

Sadly, many of us never put enough money away for retirement and are unable to hold onto our homes. Also, many of us do not get around to estate planning considerations until it’s too late.

There are some things it’s always good to keep in mind:

  • Having someone else look over your plans is always important. No matter how well we think we have our affairs planned out, there’s always the chance we could miss something. For this reason, estate planning’ attorneys provide an invaluable service in making certain expensive mistakes are avoided.
  • There are many documents any adult with property and heirs need to have prepared. Besides a will, this includes preparing a health care proxy, living will, and power of attorney. These documents make certain someone we trust takes care of our affairs when we are unable to do it ourselves.
  • It’s important keeping the people you care for the most informed about what you are doing. It’s also important to know what your heirs wish for as well so any provisions regarding them are appropriate. This is especially important in the event you own or participate in a family business.
  • An understanding of your state’s laws is essential. Pennsylvania has its own unique set of laws pertaining to probate and estate planning law.
  • Always consider tax consequences.

These are only a few tips for avoiding mistakes when creating an estate plan. It’s also always a good idea to check with knowledgeable attorneys regarding your individual circumstances.

Source: USA Today, “Big retirement mistake: Boomers with no estate plan,” Rodney Brooks, April 8, 2015