Articles Posted in Wills

There are few things as painful in life as the death of a spouse. In addition to weathering the devastating emotions like loneliness and sadness that accompany this process, it is still important to plan for your future as a widow or widower. 

Unfortunately in some situations, the surviving spouse might have even been left out of financial and estate planning decisions that were made before death. 

This article reviews some of the important strategies that you should remember when it comes to estate planning and the death of a spouse.

There are a number of common estate planning errors that we see people make. These errors occur in almost equal proportion among the wealthiest as well as individuals of modest means. 

In the hopes of making the estate planning process more efficient for everyone, this article reviews some of the most common mistakes made by people during the estate plan.

# 1 – Not Having an Estate Plan

After creating an estate plan, you might think that you’ve made all of the steps necessary to plan for your future. 

Instead, it is just as important to make sure that estate planning documents are stored in a safe location. This article reviews some of the various options that people utilize to make sure that estate planning documents are safely stored.

# 1 – A Lawyer Holds the Documents

As estate planning professionals, we encounter a number of situations and are very familiar with the most common types of estate planning errors that people make.

No matter if these mistakes are the result of laziness or lack of care, errors in estate planning have the potential to create a number of substantial obstacles. For example, if a will is declared invalid, your estate might be administered in a way that does not conform with your wishes.

Hopefully by reviewing some of the most common types of estate planning mistakes in this article, you will be able to avoid them.

If you are a parent with a special needs trust, you likely understand how critical it is to prepare for the future. After all, these trusts make sure that a child continues to receive financial support in case you die or become incapacitated. These trusts are also particularly helpful because directly transferring assets to a special needs child outside of a trust can result in the discontinuation of government benefits.

Deciding the amount of funds to place in a trust, however, can be difficult. That’s why this article reviews some of the important details you should consider when funding a special needs trust.

# 1 – Housing Costs

Three people in Ohio were recently convicted on multiple charges related to a scheme associated with creating and probating a fake will that left the entirety of a $2.2 million estate to a beneficiary and revoked an earlier will the deceased person had executed in 1993. In an additional twist, the person who forged the deceased individual’s signature on the fraudulent will acted as a government information after his request for $50,000 to remain silent was denied.

This plot was discovered following a series of 171 withdrawals for less than $10,000 which caught the attention of the Internal Revenue Service. A trial resulted which saw forensic witnesses who examined the signature on the will. As a result of this conviction, the three individuals will not face jail time.

The Overwhelming Rate at which Estate Planning Fraud Occurs

Many investors focus on amassing as large a savings as possible, but some also want to create an estate plans to make sure that these assets are passed on to loved ones.

By following some proven strategies, it is possible to reduce the amount of associated estate taxes. The biggest mistake that investors make when estate planning is failing to understand the rules. If accounts are not properly created, there are a number of unwanted events that can occur.

As a result, if you are an investor who is interested in passing on your assets, you should make sure to follow the recommended tips below.

Electronic wills have the option of providing a variety of important benefits to individuals who are interested in the estate planning process. Considering the tendency of many individuals to delay issues related to estate planning, electronic wills provide individuals with an opportunity to quickly create a legal document that decides how their assets should be divided following their death.

Weaknesses in Electronic Wills

There are some dangers that exist in using an electronic will, which must be addressed before these wills are capable of being used before individuals. A skilled estate planning attorney, however, is often able to help individuals navigate these various issues which include the following:

Tax preparation is one of the most important considerations when creating an estate plan. Whenever a person or business creates an estate plan, there are multiple types of taxes to avoid – inheritance taxes, estate taxes, and income taxes, to name a few. Without a proper estate plan, these taxes can eat into a large portion of the estate.

Here are several common estate planning strategies that could reduce your tax liability:

  1. Marital Transfers. If both spouses in the marriage are American citizens, then lifetime gifts or bequests at death between them not be subject to estate taxes.

Planning your estate is an extremely important process and should be taken very seriously in order to avoid hassles or any extra delay that could come with passing your estate through probate or otherwise transferring assets to loved ones and friends. With proper planning and attention to detail, most folks can avoid some of the most common estate planning mistakes and avoid any costly and prolonged probate process.

One of the most common estate planning mistakes is adding a friend or younger family member’s name to a joint account as a matter of practicality to make accessing the deceased’s bank account after passing away to pay for funeral costs and other bills. While this may seem like a good idea to some, the reality is that this can create confusion over the deceased’s intentions and may complicate probate. A better alternative is to give a trusted  individual power of attorney to make financial decisions if incapacitated and a prepay for funeral expenses.

Instead of leaving assets to heirs in a will outright, individuals should consider setting up a trust for these assets to pass onto upon the grantor’s death. This way the heir does not take on unwanted wealth to his or her name and complicate tax considerations or Medicaid planning. This can also shield the assets from creditors who may go after the wealth to recoup debts incurred by the heir.

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