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.)


Olsen Law Firm Provides I-9 Employment Presentations

Chattanooga attorney Terrence L. Olsen  will be giving I-9 Employment presentations in Nashville on Aug. 4, (at a regional firm), in Chattanooga in late September (at a location later to be announced), and in Lexington, Ky. in early November (at a location later to be announced).  He said the Olsen law firm develops immigration law strategies for families and businesses. ... (click for more)

FSG Bank Presents On Point A Check For $1,000

FSG Bank presented On Point with a check for $1,000 recently from funds raised during the organization’s “Change for Change” coin drive. Supporters made donations in coin canisters at FSG locations in Chattanooga during the spring. The funds will help support On Point’s mission and programs of local youth development. (click for more)

Muslim Advocacy Group Questions House Arrest For Signal Mountain Man Charged In Threats Against Muslim Village In New York

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Saturday questioned the release of a Signal Mountain man who admitted to planning what it called "a Charleston-style terror attack" on a Muslim community in New York. CAIR also called for stepped up protection for the community targeted in the plot. Judge ... (click for more)

Plumbers Bring Complaints To WWTA; Told New Contracts Are Ready

Several plumbers on Thursday brought complaints to a committee of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and got little response other than being told that new contracts are ready. Kay Keefe of Keefe Plumbing said the small number of plumbing companies still participating in the program to repair leaky lines to homes, have long been operating without ... (click for more)

Could The Marriage Decision Spark A New Independence Day?

I confess that this year I am having a hard time with the idea of celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day. It is not because I am not thankful to God for what was done on that day, what it represents, and the blessings I’ve experienced that flow from it. On the other hand, I want to think that maybe this year’s celebration will mark a period in our history in which a new movement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dr. Tydings Is A Winner

One week from tomorrow the most important educator in the future of our community will start work as the new president of Chattanooga State. While I am normally cynical of beard-strokers and foundation-hungry dreamers who have little or no concept of the real world, I am convinced Flora Tydings will become the best thing to happen in our community in years. A grandmother with ... (click for more)