I don’t think it can be said enough that estate planning is one of the most important things you can do in your life. By taking time and putting a plan in place, you protect your loved ones form countless pains. It is a final gift that you can give your loved ones to help them after your gone. Surprisingly one of the first people most families will talk to about planning is their financial advisor and not an attorney. Most often, after speaking with their financial advisor’s people come to the Attorney office with an idea of what they want. Which is ok, anything that gets you started on the right path is a good thing. But, with it how critical estate planning is, it is important to avoid making mistakes with your plan. A recent article from U.S. News & World Report, “Estate Planning Mistakes Advisors Make” looks at five things your financial advisor might forget to go over with you when talking about getting your planning done.
- The Client Procrastinates. What you talk about needing or wanting three month or three years ago might not be the same now. This is particularly true when it come to assets values and types, which are important pieces of information for an attorney to have when crafting your plan. So do delay, talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
- Review of Existing Documents. Your financial advisor might not know if you have planning in place already, and is probably not aware of how that planning affect what you do next. Make sure to speak with an attorney about any prior planning you have done, and give them the prior planning to review.
- Assuming Equal and Fair are the Same Thing. A lot of people think the equal mean fair, but the words are not synonymous with each other. Make sure to talk with your attorney about the individual situation of your family to decide what is fair for you.
- Assets Have Not Been Professionally Appraised. As said above value and type of assets are important pieces of information for an attorney to have when they are creating a plan for you. They can help to determine how the assets pass, and how your whole plan is structured. So getting a correct value for major assets like a business is critical.
- Key Players Are Not Still Viable. Planning needs to be updated regularly for many reason, including changes in the people you name in your planning. People change and life happens, so the people you chose years or even months ago may not be a good fit any longer.
Reference: Pinkerston, Julie. (2021). US News & World. Report. 5 Estate Planning Mistakes Advisors Make. https://money.usnews.com/financial-advisors/articles/estate-planning-mistakes-advisors-make.