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.)


FSG Bank Ends Successful ‘Pay It Forward’ Campaign With $2,500 Donation To Habitat For Humanity

First Security Group, Inc., the holding company for FSG Bank, announced the bank has ended its “Pay It Forward” campaign and will officially make a $2,500 donation to the Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland after receiving an incredible response from the community to its unique GO Money campaign.   FSG Bank launched the GO Money campaign last month as part of its grand opening ... (click for more)

Fleet Feet Sports To Open New Chattanooga Store In Mid-October

Fleet Feet Sports   announces the mid-October opening of a new store in Chattanooga. The store will be the brand’s first location in the Chattanooga market and will open in the NorthShore neighborhood at 313 Manufacturers Road.   Running store veteran Steve Carter will operate and manage the store, stepping into the leadership role after serving as general manager ... (click for more)

Trustee To Be Appointed To Oversee Hutcheson Medical Center Bankruptcy With Focus On Sale Of Fort Oglethorpe Hospital

A trustee will be appointed to oversee the bankruptcy case of Hutcheson Medical Center with a focus on getting the financially-strapped Fort Oglethorpe hospital sold. The U.S. Trustee's Office had filed a motion asking that the bankruptcy be dissolved due to the debt rising to $6.3 million since the bankruptcy was filed last November. However, all parties finally agreed it was ... (click for more)

Civic, Political Leader Mai Bell Hurley Dies At 87

Civic and political leader Mai Bell Hurley has died at age 87. She was the first woman to serve on the Chattanooga City Council. Ms. Hurley was also a longtime advocate for the arts and a leader in United Way. She was a leader in Chattanooga Venture that led to the redevelopment of downtown and the riverfront.  She most recently served on the Library Board. ... (click for more)

Does The Signal Mountain Town Council Take Its Constituents As Fools?

You've got to hand it to the Signal Mountain Town Council. In their scheme to change the zoning on Signal Mountain from 1/2 an acre to 1/4 an acre they get more creative by the day in coming up with justifications for doing something a majority of their constituents are squarely against.   They started off by hiding behind a poor widow who had fallen on hard times. She had ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Ain’t A Whirlygust

I have lived in and around the State of Tennessee my entire life and I have spent that last 50 years writing words in stories every day. I love clever words, words that fit perfectly in a sentence. I also like funny words, clever phrases and all sorts of “slang” words. This week the Slate website came out with “The United Slang of America” and, naturally, I was eager to see what ... (click for more)