Common Elder Law Estate Planning Errors

The newspapers have been full of stories about celebrities who died without proper estate planning. James Gandofini, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ernie Banks come to mind.

A story in the Times Herald-Record notes that poor elder law estate planning can lead to probate, tax consequences and family disputes.

It notes that half of all Americans do not have estate plans. They may think they don’t have enough money to need one. But an estate plan protects you during life through disability planning as well as in passing on assets to your loved ones.

Such a plan names beneficiaries when you die. A will is important but a trust allows you to avoid costly and public probate.

If you want to disinherit a family member, it makes sense to consider using a trust rather than a will, to avoid family members contesting the will, the story says.

A trust may also be preferable than owning assets jointly since if one of the couple dies, the other one gets 100 percent. That person may leave the money to a new loved one and leave out beneficiaries that you would have wanted to get something.

If you have questions about estate planning, feel free to call us for a consultation at (626) 696-3145.

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