Estate Planning and Trusts

Estate Mistakes to Avoid

Once you have finally made the important decision to create an estate plan you certainly don’t want to make costly mistakes during the creation of the plan. Before you get started on your plan, consider the following five biggest estate mistakes to avoid:
Estate Planning1. Failing to plan for incapacity. Estate planning should not only contemplate your death but should also contemplate the very real possibility of your incapacity. In the absence of an incapacity plan your loved ones could waste a significant amount of time and money in a protracted legal battle over who will control your estate assets and who will make personal decisions concerning you and your medical treatment.
2. Not avoiding probate. Probate can take months, even years, to complete. Meanwhile, much needed assets are unavailable to the intended beneficiary. Converting assets to non-probate assets will save your loved ones both time and money and provide estate liquidity.
3. Failing to understand the tax implications of your plan. The transfer of wealth has tax implications, including federal gift and estate taxes. Failing to understand and plan for the tax implications of your death could end up significantly diminishing the value of the estate you leave behind for your loved ones.
4. Not leaving behind a funeral plan. Planning your own funeral and burial may not sound like fun but doing so will save your loved ones from making costly mistakes as well as ensure that your final wishes are honored. Ensuring that funds are available, or even pre-paying, for your funeral will also benefit your loved ones during their time of grief.
5. Failing to consult with an attorney. Estate planning is not the place to try and save money. The money you save now by going the “do-it-yourself” route will likely cost your loved ones considerably more after your death both in terms of dollars and cents and in terms of time spent litigating your estate.

Mark Feinsot, CPA has been providing estate planning services to high net worth families in New York City for years.  If you’d like to discuss your situation, call 212-631-7578 and ask to speak with Mark.  Our initial consultation is free.