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.)


Supreme Court Orders Trial Court To Reconsider Subpoenas In Post-Conviction Case

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that a post-conviction petitioner may be entitled to subpoena his co-defendants as witnesses, but only if he can first demonstrate that the co-defendants are competent witnesses whose testimony is relevant to his claims. In 2009, Quantel Taylor pled guilty to charges of attempted first degree murder, second degree murder, and especially aggravated ... (click for more)

Mark Making And Glass House Collective Host Ribbon Cutting

Mark Making and Glass House Collective, in partnership with Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, will host a Glass Street ribbon cutting on Friday, Sept. 5, at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate their expanded presence in East Chattanooga. The ribbon cutting will be held at the 2500 block of Glass Street. Mark Making has relocated to their new East Chattanooga home after operating out ... (click for more)

Jury Finds In Favor Of Texas Sheriff In Suit Brought By Chattanooga Photographer

A Federal Court jury on Friday found in favor of a Texas sheriff and his chief deputy who had been sued by a Chattanooga photographer. The jury in the courtroom of Judge Curtis Collier awarded no damages to Donna Johnson. In his closing argument after a two-week civil trial, attorney John Anderson said, "This is about the Fourth Amendment." Attorney Anderson represented Ms. ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Mackey Should Be Thankful For The State Troopers On Highway 153

This is in response to a statement made by Warren Mackey at the commission meeting.  His question was to the mayor regarding the state troopers writing tickets on Highway 153, saying they were on a rampage.   It is apparent that Mr. Mackey doesn’t travel this highway.  His only concern was that the ticket money was going into state funds and not into county funds. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Must-Read For Parents

If you have a child or if you love one, what you are about to read could be one of the most important lessons in your life. I have a great friend in Dallas – Sandy Pohfal – who regularly shares stories with me that are moving, inspirational or important. This is all three. This story was written by a celebrated author, Christie Craig. She has written hundreds of articles for ... (click for more)