Estate planning mistakes to avoid (U.S. News article)
It is always better to learn from the mistakes of others than to make the same mistakes yourself. This is certainly true when it comes to estate planning–wise folks will learn from and avoid very common mistakes made by far too many individuals. Often, these are tragic and very costly mistakes.
A few months ago, U.S. News and World Report published an article written by Brian O’Connell titled 7 Estate Planning Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make. The title is self-explanatory. And while there are certainly more than seven common mistakes related to estate planning (if we are going to get overly technical…:), the items discussed by Mr. O’Connell are aptly chosen and well-worth consideration. Again, it is always best to learn from the mistakes of others.
Here are the estate planning mistakes listed in the article:
improper beneficiary designations–these govern for applicable investment accounts, insurance policies and related financial assets, notwithstanding what is written in the trust or Will;
out of date documents–even the best estate planning papers can become stale and inapplicable with the passage of time if neglected and not updated periodically;
no plan whatsoever–failing to plan is still a plan, but not a very good one;
giving away too much, too soon–people live much longer than expected in many instances and giving away too many assets and later learning that such gifted assets are needed is not a good siutation for anyone;
If none of that got your attention, perhaps this quote from the article will elicit a response (or at least a few moments of personal inventory at the appropriate time):
When it comes to estate planning, too many Americans are at best, indifferent, and at worst, are completely ignoring the issue.
According to an April study from BMO Wealth Management, 52 percent of U.S. adults have not made a will, 40 percent of parents haven’t talked to family about their estate planning needs and just 28 percent of those surveyed “know their own parents’ legacy wishes.”