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The 50 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes...and How to Avoid Them. Edition No. 1

  • ID: 2209482
  • Book
  • October 2013
  • 288 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Stepping Lightly Around the Pitfalls of Estate Planning...

Estate planning is one of those unpleasant but really important tasks. Unfortunately, the process is not only hard to get started, it is then easy to make mistakes. Even the most careful and well-intentioned person can slip up along the way. Avoid the pitfalls! The 50 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes outlines the major mistakes and their consequences in an entertaining way-and then proceeds to tell you exactly how to avoid these mistakes.

Delivering practical and helpful information in a light tone, the authors help to make these sometimes difficult conversations a little easier. The book's fifty concise chapters are filled with real-life examples, organized under four key areas of mistakes:

  • The biggest mistake of not planning at all
  • Failing to plan for the possibility of mental incompetency
  • Mistakes made during the estate planning process itself
  • And common mistakes made by executors

Written by personal finance and estate planning experts, Jean Blacklock and Sarah Kruger, The 50 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes and How To Avoid Them is an essential guide for Canadians interested in planning their estates effectively, with minimal stress on their loved ones.

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown

Preface xv

Acknowledgements xix

Part 1: Incompetency Issues 1

Wanted: dead or alive! 3
Mistake #1: Failing to face the need to delegate your decision-making ability while you are still able to do so

Okay, so let’s say i’m alive 7
Mistake #2: Not knowing how to plan in advance for possible incompetency

Just give me cherry garcia ice cream 11
Mistake #3: Failing to leave a road map for making your personal care decisions and not communicating clearly with your chosen substitute decision maker

After the ice cream, I want every heroic measure known to science! 17
Mistake #4: Avoiding the difficult decisions and discussions involved with planning for end-of-life medical care

Hey, hey, hey, have I got a job for you! 21
Mistake #5: Glossing over the practical aspects of appointing another person to make financial decisions for you

Good help ain’t cheap 25
Mistake #6: Forgetting about compensation for the people you appoint to act on your behalf if you become incompetent

There go the dancing dogs! 31
Mistake #7: Placing too much trust in your delegated financial decision maker

Part 2: Intestacy Issues 37

Giving away your stuff 101 39
Mistake #8: Believing that a will controls the distribution of all of your assets at your death

The road to hell is paved with good intentions 43
Mistake #9: Avoiding making a will by using beneficiary designations and joint ownership of assets

Let’s check the chicken coop! 47
Mistake #10: Leaving behind confusion and heartaches instead of a valid will

. . . And then the rest goes to second cousin lucy in barcelona 51
Mistake #11: Allowing your estate to be distributed according to a cookie-cutter formula

My diamond ring is going where?! 55
Mistake #12: Failing to use estate planning as an opportunity for a thoughtful and careful distribution of your estate, including your personal effects

Share, share and share alike . . . Sharing your estate far and wide . . . 59
Mistake #13: Overpaying for bonding, taxes and professional fees because you die without a will

Part 3: Will-Planning Errors 63

Is that snoring we hear? 65
Mistake #14: Taking the back seat in your own estate planning

And for making those delicious muffins, I leave my housekeeper one million dollars ($1,000,000) with my love and affection! 69
Mistake #15: Not understanding the importance of mental capacity when preparing a will

Insert section a into widget b and pour in rubber cement 75
Mistake #16: Leaving behind a handwritten or will-kit will instead of retaining professional assistance

I’ll never lose it under the silverware! 81
Mistake #17: Storing your will incorrectly

Penny-wise and pound foolish 85
Mistake #18: Trying to change your will by writing on the original or a copy of the will, or using too many codicils

First comes love, then comes marriage . . . 89
Mistake #19: Neglecting to update your will as you enter marriage or a committed relationship

Then comes baby in the baby carriage! 93
Mistake #20: Not updating wills to reflect the life stages of your children

It was fun while it lasted! 97
Mistake #21: Neglecting to appropriately reflect separation and divorce in your estate plan

You need a plan, stan 101
Mistake #22: Neglecting to do appropriate planning for the death of key people in a privately held business or farm x Contents

Well, he sure can mix a mean martini! 107
Mistake #23: Selecting the wrong executor

I don’t care if johnny is in jail, he’s my little boy! 111
Mistake #24: Naming all your children as your executors

Momma always said, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” 115
Mistake #25: Failing to consider a corporate executor and trustee when appropriate

“ . . . Bond. James bond.” 119
Mistake #26: Not being open about your executor appointment or not letting your executor know where to find the will or the required information

Kum bay ya, my lord, kum bay ya 125
Mistake #27: Failing to think through how the executors will make decisions

And no red bull after 6 p.m.! 129
Mistake #28: Failing to adequately prepare for the possibility of dying when your children are young

He looks so cute in his suit and tie! 135
Mistake #29: Not thinking through the ramifications of giving property to minor children

I love you all the way to the moon and back 137
Mistake #30: Making the assumption that after your death your beneficiaries will understand why you have done what you did

That’s not a mosquito, that’s your sister-in-law! 143
Mistake #31: Not dealing appropriately with the family’s recreational property

 “. . . And those of my office plants alive at my death to my partner, hugh, for his own use absolutely” 149
Mistake #32: Inadequately planning for the distribution of your personal effects

The society of wayward pets and other causes close to your heart 153
Mistake #33: Not taking full advantage of the opportunity to make a difference in the world through charitable giving

The stony pasture and other places not on the map 157
Mistake #34: Not paying enough attention to the ownership and description of your assets

You can’t give what you ain’t got! 161
Mistake #35: Not paying enough attention to describing the gift s in your will appropriately

Canada revenue who? 165
Mistake #36: Making errors that may result in additional taxation of your estate

Can I have a silver spoon with that? 171
Mistake #37: Misunderstanding trusts in general and mistakes in the trustee selection

Can I have a silver spoon with that? The sequel 175
Mistake #38: Making mistakes in setting out the terms of the trusts in the will

Minimum wage sounds about right, marge 181
Mistake #39: Not planning ahead for the compensation of your executor

Part 4: Mistakes in Estate Administration 187

I Can’t Even Read This Thing! 189
Mistake #40: Overlooking opportunities to retain help with administering an estate 

I’ve always been a do-it-yourself kind of gal 195
Mistake #41: Making mistakes in retaining or working with the professionals you hire to assist you with the estate administration

I always liked that susie the best 199
Mistake #42: Failing to fully understand the fiduciary nature of the role of the executor

Do I need to miss my golf game? 205
Mistake #43: Not taking control of the estate from the outset

What, you want my phone number too? 209
Mistake #44: Not communicating effectively with the beneficiaries of the estate

Let’s just tidy this up today 213
Mistake #45: Failing to get properly informed and organized and underestimating the work involved

Enough already! 217
Mistake #46: Failing to keep the estate administration moving ahead in a timely manner

I never knew apiaries were so complicated 221
Mistake #47: Incorrectly dealing with the estate assets (excluding the personal effects)

Okay everybody, take what you like and don’t forget the cat 225
Mistake #48: Not dealing with personal effects in an effective manner

I thought I knew him better than that . . . 229
Mistake #49: Expecting the estate to go smoothly all of the time and being unprepared for the unexpected

Back seat driving is a snap! 235
Mistake #50: Being a belligerent beneficiary

Glossary 239

Index 251

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
Jean Blacklock
Sarah Kruger
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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