Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Thinking about having an estate plan drawn up? Then pay close attention. Here are some horror stories about people who have made common mistakes in doing their estate plans.

When you have yours done, make sure to avoid these errors, which are recounted in a story in the Green Bay Press Gazette.

  • A one-time Supreme Court justice wrote his own will, and used just 176 words. It cost his family $450,000 in estate taxes and court fees because he failed to take the time to do it right. He should have gone to an estate planning attorney.
  • A young lady left her assets to her minor son. When she died, she had $1 million in her estate from a wrongful death claim. By chance, her son died soon afterwards and the money went to his only heir, his father, who was a drug addict. She should have put the assets into a trust with a contingency plan were the son to die, so the money would not go to the father.
  • A father had a stroke and went into a nursing home. His children closed his bank account but never went through his mail. After he passed away, they found a statement for a $1 million life insurance policy. However, the premiums had not been paid since the bank account was closed. They didn’t get the money. Lesson: make sure somebody knows what assets you have, usually the person who has power of attorney, a trustee named in a trust you have set up or the personal representative named in your will.

These are common mistakes that can be avoided if you engage a qualified estate planning attorney to help you with your estate plan.

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