Martin Pierce: Top 10 Things To Review And Plan, As Well As Top Estate Planning Mistakes

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Here are the Top 10 Things to Review and Plan for Now:

I often recommend that my estate planning, elder law and business clients make a conscious effort to evaluate their goals in terms of planning for the future. The following is a "Top Ten" list of legal planning items to consider:

1. Will/Revocable Trust - Provides for disposition of property, executor, trustee, guardianship, trusts and estate tax savings.

2. Planning for Incapacity - Prepare a Durable General Power of Attorney (for financial matters), Appointment of a Health Care Agent, and specify your advance care choices.

3. Long-Term Care - Coverage for Nursing Home or In-Home Care for a specified or lifetime period of time.

4. Elder Law Issues - Including Medicare, Medicaid and VA issues (qualification, timely transfers of property, exempt property, etc.).

5. Financial Planning & Investments - Prepare a plan of prudent investing for your temperament and for the seasons of life to maintain an adequate stream of income.

6. Retirement Plans and Planning - Participate in 401(k) or other retirement programs and consider IRA options.

7. Saving for College - Use gifting to a Trust or Section 529 plan to save for a child's or grandchild's education.

8. Social Security Benefits - Keep informed regarding the amount of anticipated Social Security benefits you may receive (http://www.ssa.gov).  

9. Insurance - Make sure you (and your family) have adequate protection through life, disability and pre-need funeral insurance. 

10. Important Papers - Make sure all your important documents and information are organized, up-to-date, and accessible to your family members or advisor. 


Here are the Top Ten Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes:

1. Not understanding the impact life insurance has on estate planning and taxes.  

2. Not understanding the impact retirement plan assets have on estate planning, death taxes, and your beneficiaries’ income taxes. 

3. Not understanding the true “fair market value” of your assets. 

4. Not focusing on emotional and relational aspects estate planning. 

5. Not coordinating your retirement plan, annuity and life insurance beneficiary designations with your will and any trusts. 

6. Not reviewing your estate plan on a systematic basis.  

7. Not having up-to-date advance directives (financial power of attorney, health care agent appointment, and advance medical directives) in place. 

8. Not taking advantage of charitable gifting -- directing and leveraging your “Social Wealth” to your favorite ministries and charities other than the IRS. 

9. Not having your advisors work as a team – certified estate planning attorney, insurance representative, financial advisor and accountant. 

10. Not having a “relationship” with your advisors.

Provided by:
Martin L. Pierce, Attorney Licensed in Tennessee and Georgia
Certified Estate Planning Law Specialist Accredited Estate Planner
PIERCE LAW FIRM, PLLC National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
4513 Hixson Pike, Suite 109 Qualified Member of Kingdom Advisors
Hixson, Tennessee 37343  
mpierce@martinpiercelaw.com
648-4303 Fax: 648-4305 

(Copyright © 2013, all rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: This article provides general coverage of
its subject area. It is provided free, with the understanding that the author, publisher and
publication do not intend this article to be viewed as rendering legal advice or service. If legal
advice is sought or required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author and the publisher shall not be responsible for any damages resulting from any error, inaccuracy or omission contained in this publication.)


Chattanooga Area Labor Council To Host Workers Memorial Day Event

The Chattanooga Area Labor Council will host a Workers Memorial Day Event on Monday, April 28, to remember all workers who have suffered and died on the job and to renew efforts for safe workplaces.    This is a worldwide campaign, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, to generate awareness and support of workers’ rights to "safe, healthy and respectful work environments."   ... (click for more)

Hicks Speaker For Walker Chamber's Monthly Membership Luncheon

The University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center will be highlighted by keynote speaker Kinsey Hicks, program coordinator, during the Walker County Chamber of Commerce’s April Membership Luncheon which will take place on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Walker County Civic Center, 10052 N Hwy 27, Rock Spring, GA.    The Mission of the ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Cannon Avenue Early Saturday Morning

A man was shot early Saturday morning on Cannon Avenue. At approximately 5:30 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 2300 Cannon Ave. for shots fired.  Shortly after receiving the call, officers learned that a victim arrived at a local hospital.  The victim suffered a gunshot wound to the right leg and is undergoing treatment. The injury is not considered to be life-threatening.  ... (click for more)

Child Playing With Cigarette Lighter Starts $25,000 Mobile Home Fire

A child playing with a cigarette lighter started a mobile home fire on Saturday morning. At 9 a.m., the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a mobile home fire at 6561 Cassie Lane. It took four fire companies about 10 minutes to get the fire under control. The fire was contained to one bedroom. No injuries were reported. Damage to the home is around $25,000. (click for more)

When The City Was Silent - And Response

I don't know how to say this without getting my head handed back to me on a platter as is often the usual case. But at least I no longer receive the hateful (even threatening) emails and insults I became accustomed to. So I'll just bite and say it: I honestly don't see anything expressed by the NSM that hasn't been said locally on some level at one time or another, and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Could Use You…

In the spring of 1968, this just before pro golfer Billy Casper would win six tournaments that year and be the leading money winner on the tour, the wildly-popular “Buffalo Bill” was in Japan playing some off-season tournaments. He was asked if he would like to visit some American soldiers who had been seriously wounded and Casper, ever the gentleman, said of course. As he melted ... (click for more)