Legacy Design Strategies
Omaha, NE, Minot, ND and Iowa Fall, IA Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Can I Be Sure My Estate Plan Works?

July 12, 2021
Andrew Sigerson
Your estate plan is much more likely to be successful, when you recognize and avoid the most common mistakes and take some key actions that often are overlooked.

Most estate planning attorneys will tell you that the same mistakes recur with frequency whether the estate is worth a billion dollars, several hundred thousand dollars or anywhere in-between. Of course, the biggest mistake of all, reports the article “7 Steps To Ensure A Successful Estate Plan” from Forbes, is not having an estate plan at all. Having an outdated estate plan can be just as bad.

Everyone should have a complete estate plan and it should be reviewed every few years and revised as life and laws change. The estate plan should include a will, trusts, power of attorney, advance medical directives and other planning elements. However, there’s more to an estate plan success than documents.

Education and communication. If the next generation isn’t prepared for the contents of the estate plan, it’s going to be challenging for them to carry out your wishes. They may mismanage assets, or even lose them to scammers. At any age and stage, people who are not ready for an inheritance may easily go through their entire inheritance and find themselves at a loss for what happened.

One solution is to leave the estate in trusts and limit access. A better solution is to ensure your heirs are prepared and understand how to handle money. Children benefit from their parent’s teaching them about managing, accumulating and donating money.

Prepare for family conflict. Sometimes tensions are out in the open, but other times they hide below the surface until one or both parents die, or learning the details of the estate plan leads to family conflicts. Thinking the children will work things out on their own is asking for trouble. Siblings with very different economic situations or lifestyles respond differently to their parent’s estate plan. Don’t ignore these potential problems. Talk with your estate planning attorney. It’s likely that your estate planning attorney has seen just about every situation and will have good ideas for preserving family harmony.

Plan ahead for gifting. Gifting is often a large part of an estate plan. Gifts are a good way to get the next generation comfortable with inherited wealth. However, don’t just write checks. Create and execute a strategy. Know that cash gifts are definitely spent faster, while property gifts tend to be kept and held for the future.

Make sure you understand the plan. You’d be surprised how many smart and sophisticated people don’t actually understand their own estate plans. Meet with your estate planning attorney on a regular basis and ask questions – and keep asking until you understand everything. Take notes during your meeting, so you can go back and review to see if you have any other questions.

Get organized and prepare. The best estate plan in the world is at risk, if the executor doesn’t know where documents are located. Make sure the information is written down and the person you chose to serve as executor knows where things are. We should all be simplifying our lives and records as we age, both to make our lives easier as the inevitable cognitive decline occurs and to make the settlement process faster.

Create a business succession plan. Most business owners fail to do this. It makes it all but impossible for the next generation to keep the business going. The value of a small business declines rapidly and sometimes evaporates, when there is no plan for succession. If the intent is to sell or pass the business on, a succession plan needs to be prepared, long before it is needed.

Fund trusts. The most common mistake in estate planning is creating trusts and then failing to fund them. If the trust is created but assets are not retitled, the estate plan will fail. Real estate, vehicles, boats and financial accounts that are intended to be put into the trust need to be retitled.

Reference: Forbes (May 27, 2021) “7 Steps To Ensure A Successful Estate Plan”

Share This Post
Meeting with a client

Get Started Today

Book your Free Estate Planning Consultation Now

  • You have people you care about.
  • You want to maintain control of your life and your assets.
  • You'd like to leave a legacy.
  • You'd enjoy some peace of mind.
  • We can help.
Book a Discovery Call

Stay Up-To Date

Subscribe to Our eNewsletter

Office Locations

Omaha, NE Office

9859 South 168th Avenue,
Omaha, NE 68136

Directions

Minot, ND Office

7 Third Street SE, Suite 202,
Minot, ND 58701

Directions

Iowa Falls, IA Office

320 North Oak Street, PO Box 295,
Iowa Falls, IA 50126

Directions

Some Of The Areas We Serve

LDStrategies
Omaha, NE Office

9859 South 168th Avenue,
Omaha, NE 68136

Minot, ND Office

7 Third Street SE, Suite 202,
Minot, ND 58701

Iowa Falls, IA Office

320 North Oak Street, PO Box 295,
Iowa Falls, IA 50126

IMS - Estate Planning and Elder Law Practice Growth Advisors
Powered by
cross