5 Mistakes To Avoid In Estate Planning

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10 October 2023

Real Estate

Estate Planning

Estate planning is a vital process of wealth management that ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. It is a process that involves careful consideration, documentation, and, often, professional guidance. 

While everyone’s estate planning needs are unique, there are common mistakes that can derail even the most well-intentioned efforts. To ensure you have a seamless process, our wealth management advisors at Whittier Trust have compiled a list of five common mistakes to avoid in estate planning.

Why Real Estate Planning Is Important? 

Gone are the days when real estate planning was just a source of high net worth. Nowadays, everyone from a middle-class family to a luxurious background must come with efficient estate planning. It is true that there are various sources to invest your money. But the importance of property planning is truly unparalleled. 

  • Estate strategizing is all about keeping your loved ones protected, at least from the IRS. Under the Internal Revenue Service, it is integral to transfer your assets to heirs with the aim of creating the least possible tax burden on them. The right estate plan also saves families from falling apart. Just like a will, estate planning helps you choose your assets and finances in the right way possible. Finally, it can be said that estate planning safeguards beneficiaries. If you are the sole breadwinner of the family, there is nothing to worry about, even if something happens to you. But for that, you will first have to curate a properly structured and evenly distributed estate plan. 

What 5 Mistakes Must Be Avoided In Estate Planning? 

Mistakes Must Be Avoided In Estate Planning

It is good that you have come up with an exclusive strategy. But is that all to make things work? After all, you are risking your entire life’s savings in this endeavor. So, here I am listing down 5 mistakes that one must be devoid of at the time of estate planning: 

1. Procrastination:

One of the most common estate planning mistakes is simply procrastinating. It is easy to put off creating a comprehensive estate plan, especially when you are focused on the present. Life can bring unexpected twists, and a thoughtfully crafted estate plan can offer you and your loved ones a comforting sense of security. 

It is never too early to start estate planning, so regardless of age, taking action now ensures that your assets are protected, and your intentions are clear. A well-structured estate plan can alleviate the cloud of uncertainty about the future of your assets and the well-being of your loved ones. 

2. Neglecting Regular Updates:

Estate planning is not a one-and-done process. Life is constantly changing, and your estate plan should reflect those changes. Failing to update your plan can lead to unintended consequences.

Major life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, the acquisition of new assets, or changes in financial circumstances all warrant a review and, if necessary, an update to your estate plan. Without consistent evaluation, your assets may not be distributed as you intended. You update things like your phone, car, and closet without hesitation. Why neglect something as valuable to you and your family as your estate? 

3. Inadequate Consideration of Taxes: 

Failing to incorporate tax sensitivity into all areas of your wealth management strategy will inevitably diminish the impact of your estate and the eventual assets available for your intended beneficiaries. 

Consulting with a knowledgeable wealth management advisor can help you navigate the complexities of tax planning and ensure that your estate is as tax-efficient as possible. It’s also important to consider what state you’re establishing trust in. For example, Nevada is one of the most trust-friendly states. It offers strong tax benefits, asset protection, trust longevity, and flexible decanting provisions.  

4. Overlooking Beneficiary Designations:

Many assets, such as retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and bank accounts, allow you to designate beneficiaries. These designations supersede instructions in your trust. It is crucial to review and update these beneficiary designations regularly to ensure they align with your current intentions. Failing to do so can lead to unintended consequences, such as assets going to a former spouse or someone you no longer wish to benefit. 

Oftentimes, emotions get roped into our decision-making processes, leading to impulse decisions or skewed perceptions. It is also important to think about the long-term effects of your beneficiary designations, considering every possible scenario. Having a third party like a wealth management firm help you with this process can prove to be extremely advantageous.

The third-party can either serve as your trustee or help advise the trustee to make objective decisions and look after the estate and family. In either scenario, a wealth management company helps create a neutral, mutually beneficial relationship in the estate planning process.

5. DIY Estate Planning:

Assembling a personalized wealth management team by handpicking lawyers, investment professionals, and other specialists may appear to offer a tailored approach to estate management. However, the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of this DIY approach are often outweighed by the advantages of partnering with a multifamily office. 

While individual experts bring their own strengths, a multifamily office excels in curating a team personalized to your needs and capable of seamless collaboration, ensuring that your financial objectives are pursued with synergy and precision. 

Multifamily offices are usually more cost-effective and time-saving as well, even providing family office services to help stay on top of the day-to-day expenses, documentation, and management for an estate. However, a good wealth management firm is also capable of working with outside experts, whether to account for a non-traditional area of need or comfort with a longtime and trusted source of counsel to prioritize your peace of mind.

DIY Estate Planning:

Conclusion

Estate planning is a critical process that should not be overlooked or delayed. Avoiding common mistakes can help you create a robust estate plan that protects your assets and provides for your loved ones as you intend. 

Trust services, like those provided at Whittier Trust, are committed to assisting individuals and families in developing comprehensive estate plans tailored to their specific needs and goals. You are not in this alone. The right wealth management advisors are ready to help you create and maintain an estate plan that is designed just for you.

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Debamalya is a professional content writer from Kolkata, India. Constantly improving himself in this industry for more than three years, he has amassed immense knowledge regarding his niches of writing tech and gaming articles. He loves spending time with his cats, along with playing every new PC action game as soon as possible.

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