Whether you believe that your estate plan is complicated or simple, many pertinent details can compromise the effectiveness of your plan overall. There are ten steps you can follow to help avoid some common estate planning mistakes:
1. Set up a meeting with your estate planning lawyer to discuss state death taxes and whether or not they will affect you.
2. You need to understand the true value of your estate for federal estate tax purposes.
3. Think carefully about how you intend to give property to your children and unintended consequences.
4. Consider using a will to transfer property instead of allowing children to own property jointly.
5. Ensure that your assets will be able to pass according to your individual wishes after you pass away.
6. Verify the portability provision of the estate tax exemption.
7. Plan for potential disabilities or incapacitation.
8. Specify your desired funeral arrangements in writing.
9. Maximize the income tax basis of any step-up benefits of death.
10. Review and update your estate plan on a regular basis.
Taking all of these steps can help give you peace of mind about the future and enable your loved ones to understand your intentions.
If you miss parts of this process, it’s likely your loved ones who will pay the price in terms of greater confusion or frustration when you pass away. Doing your due diligence well in advance can help to clarify your individual goals and help you with next steps when the time comes. Talk to a NJ estate planning lawyer now to learn more.