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 (  

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
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.)

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