Kansas Estate Planning Attorney Shares Four More Estate Planning Traps to Avoid
In our previous article about estate planning mistakes, we shared some of the most common estate planning blunders. There are other estate planning mistakes that you would also do well to avoid. In fact, one of the most common estate planning mistakes is not having an estate plan at all. People know that there’s a system in place for accounting for and distributing assets upon the event of a person’s death, but what many people do not know is that their heirs will get taken care of better if they make an estate plan instead of leaving everything at the mercy of the laws of intestate succession.
Another thing that many people leave out of their estate planning is planning for disability. Disability often precedes death, and many people lose the capacity to manage their personal and financial affairs well before they take their last breath. If you do not have an advance directive for health care and powers of attorney in place before you become unable to make decisions for yourself, the law will dictate who makes important choices regarding your life, health, and assets. Unfortunately for many people, the individuals that the law would grant decision making powers to are not the people who you would trust with making those decisions for you. Taking time to plan for the possibility of disability can save you and your friends and family a lot of heartaches later on.
A third mistake that a lot of people make with their estate plans is that they do not think about the possibility of using gifts during their lifetime to reduce their estate tax burden. The Internal Revenue Code allows individuals to make tax-free gifts worth up to a certain amount each year. By using gifts to get some of your assets into the hands of the people you want to have them, you will not only get to see them use and enjoy your gifts; you will know that they were able to use the entire gift without paying tax on it.
It might seem like putting a child, or other person’s name on the deed to a piece of real estate is a fantastic and generous gift. Gifting real estate is indeed generous, but your attorney may be able to find a better way to do it that won’t carry such a hefty tax burden for the recipient.
A fourth mistake that many people make when they do their estate planning is choosing an executor or power of attorney without putting careful thought into it. You may think that the person you select will feel honored by your choice, but they might not have the time or ability to fulfill the duties of the role or roles that you have contemplated for them. Before selecting a guardian, executor, trustee or power of attorney, look over the duties of each role and have a conversation with the person that you would like to appoint to each role. You’ll end up knowing that the people who got named in your documents are willing and able to serve in the roles that you selected them for, which can bring you great peace of mind.
Call for Your Free Consultation
To learn more about estate planning, call Wichita estate planning attorney J. Joseph Weber at 316-265-7802. or contact us on our website. We have appointments available from Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and we occasionally offer appointments in the evening or on the weekend.