The Investment Scientist

Avoid These 10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Posted on: July 11, 2012

[Guest Post by Anthony S. Carducci

1. Failure to leave any written documentation of your assets, including a list of your online accounts and passwords

2. Failure to let family members know where to find important estate planning documents

3. Failure to name a guardian for minor children or choosing a guardian who lives far away without planning for temporary, local guardianship (solved with a comprehensive Kids Protection Plan®)

4. Failure to name recipients for your personal possessions

5. Failure to designate beneficiaries for retirement and other financial accounts

6. Failure to name secondary beneficiaries

7. Failure to name alternative trustees or executors

8. Failure to properly fund or title assets to any trusts you have established

9. Failure to update your estate plan as life circumstances change

10. Failure to create an estate plan of any kind and instead leaving it to the court system to decide how your assets will be distributed.

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1 Response to "Avoid These 10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes"

Good tips, though I could have done without the scary introduction. By the way, it is important to have a list of online accounts and _current_ passwords. I suppose most people don’t have a list at all.

These tips are fine for the critical but limited situation where a person dies, but does not help in cases of temporary or permanent incapacitation. My wife and I also have given each other written living wills (medical [healthcare] power of attorney) and full _durable_ power of attorney. I don’t know if this technically falls within the scope of estate planning, but it should be a part of life planning.

The cynic in me says that any time there’s an (R) or (TM) after a common word or phrase, I just know it’s going to cost a lot more money than getting the same service from a regular lower-case personal family lawyer (non-R).

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.


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