Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2019
Top 8 Estate Planning Mistakes
Perhaps you have heard the expression: ldquo;If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.rdquo; This statement was never truer than for estate planning. By some accounts, 70 of adult Americans have no will or trust in place for their loved ones. Furthermore, others who initially did prepare an estate plan have failed to update it in light of changing circumstances in their lives.
With this backdrop, I wanted to summarize what I have seen over the years as the most common estate planning mistakes that people make.
1. FAILURE TO PRESERVE YOUR INHERITANCE FOR YOUR GRANDCHILDREN SHOULD YOUR SON/DAUGHTER DIE AND THEIR SURVIVING SPOUSE REMARRY.
You need to take steps in drafting your estate plan to assure that your assets are distributed to your grandchildren should your son/daughter die and not left to your daughter-in-law/son-in-law who could eventually remarry and end up using your inheritance with the new wife/husband and his/her step kids ndash; all of home have no familial >
2. FAILURE TO AVOID A GUARDIANSHIP PROCEEDING FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
If you have children, have you considered who would raise them if for some reason you or their other parent couldnrsquo;t. While this is not an easy subject to contemplate, having a guardian arrangement spelled out as part of your estate plan will ensure they will be properly cared for by someone you trust and have chosen. A legal guardian is a person who is given the legal authority and responsibility to take care of your childrenrsquo;s needs, such as providing food, education, medical care, dental care and shelter. If you have minor children it is imperative to have a plan in place to protect them in the event you cannot.
3. FALL OUT FROM REFINANCINGS AND THE FAILURE TO PUT YOUR REAL PROPERTY BACK IN AN EXISTING TRUST.
Did you know that most home refinancings require that your home be transferred out of a living trust back to your own names, at least until after the new lender has recorded its new mortgage or deed of trust on the property? The problem is that is most cases, no one ever thinks to transfer your real property back into the trust. This failure can result in an unforeseen probate of your home at the death of the second spouse.
4. FAILURE TO ENSURE THAT YOUR ASSETS ARE DISTRIBUTED THE WAY YOUR WANT AND NOT PURSUANT TO THE GOVERNMENTrsquo;S DEFAULT PLAN FOR YOU.
Everyone has an estate plan. It is either the one we have created or the default so-called Plan B of the state in which we live. In our experience, it is very unlikely that a statersquo;s default plan is what clients would really want. State laws vary, but generally they have it set for the assets go outright to the closest family members. Whom a state considers to be ldquo;closestrdquo; can be complicated in nonnuclear families. Nonfamily members, like an unmarried partner, will not receive any of the assets. This failure to act could cause family member fights over their inheritance.
5. HAVING ONLY A WILL OFTEN LEADS TO THE NEED FOR PROBATE.
Having only a will is a just ticket to participate in the dreaded probate process costing your family time and money. Additionally, for those who donrsquo;t have a will, their assets will probably have to go through the intestate ldquo;no willrdquo; proceeding. Either of these scenarios will require that your assets go through probate before they can be fully distributed to the heirs. Probate proceedings vary from state to state, but many view the time, cost, and loss of privacy and control that come with probate as unnecessary evils which can ndash; and should be ndash; avoided.
6. AN OLDER PERSON HOLDING TITLE TO THEIR REAL ESTATE IN JOINT TENANCY WITH A CHILD OR GRANDCHILD.
Many older people add an adult child or grandchild to the title of their assets especially their home as a joint owner in order to avoid probate. However, this type of property can create all kinds of problems, including:
When a joint owner is added, the original owner loses control:
Jointly owned assets are exposed to the joint ownerrsquo;s possible misuse of them;
Part of these assets could be lost to the joint ownerrsquo;s creditors;
The assets could become part of a joint ownerrsquo;s divorce proceedings.
7. FAILURE TO PROTECT FAMILY MEMBERS WITH DRUG ALCOHOL, GAMBLING ISSUES.
Many parents with a trust fear that an inheritance left to a child may be lost because of poor money handling skills or a drug, alcohol or gambling addiction of their children. With a living trust, you can instruct the successor trustee to retain personrsquo;s inheritance in trust and instruct the trustee to make payments, as needed, directly to third parties for rent, insurance, car payments, etc. to keep it out of their hands.
8. FAILURE TO HAVE POWERS OF ATTORNEY FOR UNMARRIED ADULT CHILDREN.
Letrsquo;s say you have a college student or a young adult over 18 who is unmarried. Theyare no longer minors that you have the legal authority to make decisions for. The law now >
1. Driverrsquo;s license or vehicle registration renewals
2. Registration/admission for college
3. Tax return filing
4. Banking transactions
5. Ongoing legal matters e.g., pending lawsuit from that fender-bender a few months back or speaking with childrsquo;s landlord
6. Jury duty summons
7. Passport renewal
Many estate planners urge clients to prod their adult children to draft POA on or around their 18th birthdays. So donrsquo;t forget a POA and make it one of the most important things on your to-do list.
A will or trust is not a static instrument. To serve its purposes, it must keep current with life changes, including an individualrsquo;s financial circumstances, and with some external factors, such as tax laws. With the help of a professional, you should periodically review your will, staying alert to new or different circumstances that might call for updates. Let us help you have the peace of mind you deserve
Contact our office for a free analysis of your situation and receive a FREE estate planning session valued at 750.00 consultation or a trust review if you already have a trust to make sure it is current. Contact Mark Klein at or 949 453-7979 call to schedule an appointment.
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3 Signs Your Agent Deserves to be Trusted
Natural fear in taking action or making a decision is meant to preserve our health, property, and way of life, but it can do the opposite. For some real estate buyers and sellers, any change or decision is seen as risk to be avoided. Even those less afraid of risk or more confident about decision making usually >
Since it is the person delivering information who usually imparts "trust-ability" to facts and choices, your ability to read the "trust-worthiness" of real estate professionals you intend to >
In this column, were not discussing cheats or crooks who are out to deliberately commit fraud or worse. Thats a discussion Ive had with you many times before including this earlier column: "Silent Crime Against Homeowners: Mortgage Fraud." That said, remember that professionals with the best of intentions but without up-to-date knowledge or skills can pose risks for sellers and buyers.
Without trusted input, individuals and couples can second guess themselves when buying or selling, vacillating on whether to stick with their decision or not. For instance, "buyers remorse" is a risk-averse response attached to purchases of anything linked to dramatic or expensive change like real estate. Trust grounded in the value of the purchase and the soundness of the buying decision reduces risk aversion, and lessens or eliminates second guessing. This trust usually arises out of the >
How can I be sure my real estate professional deserves to be trusted? Here are three signs to look for:
1. Encouragement: The correct answer to the question above is, "you cant always be sure about others." Instead, its yourself who you must trust. A real estate professional who is intent on increasing your knowledge of how the sales process influences outcomes is also determined to build your confidence in your decision making. At the same time, your skepticism will be encouraged by welcoming your questions and contributions. As you gain confidence in your understanding of buying or selling real estate, youll realize how and when to trust yourself and the real estate professional and brokerage youve chosen to >
2. Clarification: Trust in the face of certainty is an achievement, however, trust in the face of uncertainty is an art. When a knowledgeable real estate professional delivers services, or explains properties or advice, they also clarify what they expect to receive from buyers or sellers who give their trust to the professional. In other words, during the uncertainty of the adventure into real estate, buyers and sellers are told how they can act in their own best interest to facilitate good outcomes from their real estate transaction. Trust takes the form of clarifying wants and needs, confirming budget limitations, and finalizing key decision criteria like location and price range. When a real estate professional is unclear or unspecific about what buyers and sellers can expect during the transaction, trust can be replaced by confusion and frustration. If you find these are common reactions when dealing with your real estate professional, why would they deserve to be trusted? Search out that real estate professional who is clear how to make real estates inherent uncertainty manageable from your point of view.
3. >: What is said, written, texted, postedhellip;matters, but how professionals act on what they communicate matters more. When a professionals interest in you is genuine, this concern is visible in every facet of the work carried out for and with you. Your interests should always be transparently and prominently placed above the professionals according to the Agency Law and fiduciary agreements that rule real estate. This commitment materializes as services that are >
Perception is the reality in earning trust and loyalty. Your definition of trust, and the professionals, need to be aligned.
- Should trusting include you questioning the professional, or is unquestioning acceptance demanded by the professional?
- Is their reaction defensive or offensive if their knowledge or skill is challenged?
- Do you understand exactly what the professional expects from you and from themselves as your >
From the start, you deserve to understand what "trust" will mean to both of you, and to your real estate outcome. Trust yourself to be sure about this.
Source: "Whats Your Point?" CatapultPublishing.com
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You Can Keep Your KonMari Method: Why Tidying Up with Marie Kondo Is Not for Me
If you havenrsquo;t caught the show and you arenrsquo;t familiar with its namesake star or her famed KonMari Method, let me give you a quickie overview, courtesy of Netflix: ldquo;In a series of inspiring home makeovers, world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the cluttermdash;and choose joy.rdquo;
Yes, ldquo;choose joy.rdquo; Kondorsquo;s shtickmdash;and I only use shtick for lack of a better word because joy does, actually, seem to emanate from hermdash;is that having too much stuff can steal that joy. And each item you keep in your home should spark joy, not take away from it.
Bring on the joyous decluttering. But not exactly the joyous watching.
Yes, America is having quite a love affair with Marie Kondo, and I guess I sorta get it. I see how her tips could be transformative, if youre open to them. Frankly, Irsquo;m not. A few minutes into episode No. 1, I had to fight the urge to go throw some [more] clothes on the floor instead of thanking each item individually as I was choosing to get rid of it, as is her recommended process.
But herersquo;s my bigger concern: These families on her show have issues. Not any more or bigger issues than other typical American families, but issues that definitely peek through the cracks of a crammed closet. I mean, Irsquo;m a believer that a pretty house can solve a lot of lifersquo;s problems, but to think that tidying up can fix your family is a little much, no?
Letrsquo;s take Kevin and Rachel Friend and their two uber-adorable kids, the family from the first episode. Hersquo;s busy and overworked and craves/expects a perfectly kept home. Shersquo;s admittedly sloppy and overwhelmed and home with the two kids most of the day plus working part-time. Clutter is clearly affecting their >
When it was all wrapped up in a Marie Kondo-approved bow at the end of the episode, I wasnrsquo;t even a little convinced that the family had permanently changed, or that they had healed, just because the bottles and plastic wear were nicely tucked away and the t-shirts were all folded in Kondo fashion in a drawer a process Irsquo;m finding super irritating since it will clearly only work for those who are painting the rainbow with their tees and not housing 75 similar shirts in shades of gray and black, BTW.
Please, Netflix. Commission a follow-up show ASAP. I need to see these people in one, three, and six months. And they need to be surprise visits. There, season two is all planned out.
Even better, make season some kind of collab between Kondo and a marriage counselor.
In the beginning of episode two, Wendy Akiyama basically explains how, now that she and husband Ron are empty nesters, itrsquo;s a great time to tackle the house since therersquo;s no pressure to actually participate in their >
She later announced, after going through the tidying up process, that her ldquo;retail therapyrdquo; was a way to hit her husband ldquo;where it hurts.rdquo; Ouch, but points for the self-realization. I really hope Netflix left them with a resource to talk through some of their issuesmdash;together. Perhaps Ron will tell the truth about how he really feels about paring his baseball card collection down, because no one who watched that believes he loves 10 cards just as much as he loved 1,000.
I have to admit this show stressed me out, and not just because the Akiyama house was closing in on some Hoarders-level stuff. I mean, they got rid of 150 BAGS OF TRASH. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY It was all just starting to feel like The Biggest Loser, Dysfunctional Family with Household Clutter Edition. Sure, you can lose the weight/clear the clutter, but what happens if you donrsquo;t get to the reasons behind it?
Two and one-half episodes in, Irsquo;m done. And, Irsquo;m still more comfortable with my everyday mess than the idea of militant tidying. Plus, I feel like clutter-clearing should exist on some kind of a sliding scale according to the size of your space. I have a huge master closet and, frankly, it sparks panic for me to think about having to clean it out.
Plus, I saw something recently that said that messy people are smarter, and, you know what: That definitely sparks joy.
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