We are sometimes approached by people that are looking for legal advice that could be described as damage control. These situations develop because of estate planning mistakes that were made by loved ones that passed away.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so we will look at a handful of estate planning mistakes to avoid in this blog post.
Relying on Intestacy Laws
Some individuals know that in a perfect world, they should have an estate plan in place, but they are not too concerned. These folks are under the impression that the government will take care of everything if you die without a last will or any other estate planning document.
It is true that there are intestate succession laws that would hold sway under these circumstances. However, people that you would have never excluded from your estate plan could be disinherited or shortchanged if you pass away intestate.
There is no reason in the world why you should let the chips fall as they may when it is so simple to pick up the phone and make an appointment with an estate planning attorney from our firm.
Do-It Yourself Estate Planning
You can find YouTube videos or written instructions on how to do just about anything on the Internet, but the “just about” part is quite operative. As a layperson, you are certainly not going to try to give yourself a root canal or teach yourself how to fly a jet plane.
Professionals go through extensive training to learn how to effectively handle certain tasks, and it is unrealistic to think that anyone can effectively complete them without any formal education. This certainly applies to the field of estate planning, and the financial stakes can be very high.
Yes, there are downloads and worksheets that can be obtained online that guide you through the process as you fill in the blanks, but this is risky at best. A number of years ago, Consumer Reports carefully examined DIY estate planning. After weighing input from prominent legal professors, they advised against these do-it-yourself planning notions.
You would do well to heed their advice, because every situation is different, and there are many different approaches that can be taken. When you are preparing to pass on your legacy to the people that you love the most, you should be absolutely certain that you are doing it right.
Failure to Address Nursing Home Costs
A lot of people that plan ahead for retirement do not consider a huge expense that they may incur during their twilight years. Seven out of 10 seniors will need some type of living assistance eventually, and 35 percent of them will spend time in nursing homes. The average length of stay is one year.
If you are married, you can double the potential long-term care expenses. Depending on the extent of your resources, these costs can consume everything that you intended to leave to your loved ones after you are gone.
Unfortunately, Medicare will not come to the rescue, because the program does not pay for the custodial care that you would receive in a nursing home. In the Los Angeles area, you can expect to pay over a hundred thousand dollars for a year in a nursing home, and costs have been rising over recent years.
Medi-Cal does pay for the custodial care that you would receive in a nursing home. Since it is a need-based program, it takes careful planning to gain eligibility, but it can be done if you have the right professional guidance.
Attend a Free Seminar!
You can learn about all potential estate planning mistakes and how to avoid them if you attend one of our upcoming seminars. There is no charge at all, but we ask that you register in advance, because we have to know how many people to expect.
Visit our seminar page to check out the upcoming dates. When you identify the session that fits into your schedule, click the registration link and follow the simple instructions to reserve your seat.