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The 50 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes...and How to Avoid Them

  • ID: 2209482
  • Book
  • October 2013
  • 256 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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"This book is, quite simply, the best I′ve seen in its field. It is sound, comprehensive, helpful, and most importantly readable. Its authors know their business, and they know how to explain what you need to know to make intelligent plans for your estate."
Donald Coxe, Chairman of Coxe Advisors LLP, has been a columnist with the Globe & Mail, the National Post, and Maclean′s and is the author of The New Reality of Wall Street

"A sensible, sound and savvy guide for everyone who is not immortal that is, all of us. Thoroughly enjoyable and insightful. A must–read for all those thinking about estate planning which, too, should be all of us."
Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Geriatrician and author of Moments that Matter: Cases in Ethical Eldercare

"In a very readable and easy–to–understand manner, this book hits all of the common estate planning mistakes head–on. I highly recommend it."
Ian Hull, LLB, Hull & Hull LLP

"This book is a must–read to understand how to protect your hard–won assets and assure a smooth transition for your family when you are gone. This easy–to–read guide provides the information needed to make the right decisions at the right time."
Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist of BMO Capital Markets and author of The New Retirement

stepping lightly around the pitfalls of estate planning...

Estate planning is critically important, but it′s a task many of us would rather avoid. And once you get started, 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 helps you to get your estate planning right.

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

  • The biggest mistake not planning at all
  • Failing to plan for the possibility of mental incompetency
  • Mistakes made during the estate planning process itself
  • Common mistakes made by executors
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Wanted: Dead or Alive!
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.
Mistake #2 Not knowing how to plan in advance for possible incompetency.

Just Give Me Cherry Garcia Ice Cream.
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!
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!
Mistake #5 Glossing over the practical aspects of appointing another person to make financial decisions for you.

Good Help Ain t Cheap.
Mistake #6 Forgetting about compensation for the people you appoint to act on your behalf if you become incompetent.

There Go the Dancing Dogs!
Mistake #7 Placing too much trust in your delegated financial decision maker.


Giving Away Your Stuff 101.
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.
Mistake #9 Avoiding making a will by using beneficiary designations and joint ownership of assets.

Let s Check the Chicken Coop!
Mistake #10 Leaving behind confusion and heartaches instead of a valid will.

And Then the Rest Goes to Second Cousin Lucy in Barcelona.
Mistake #11 Allowing your estate to be distributed according to a cookie–cutter formula.

My Diamond Ring is Going Where?!
Mistake #12 Failing to use estate planning as an opportunity for thoughtful and careful distribution of your estate, including your personal effects.

Share, Share and Share Alike Sharing Your Estate Far and Wide
Mistake #13 Overpaying for binding, taxes and professional fees because you die without a will.


Is That Snoring We Hear?
Mistake #14 Taking the back seat in you own estate planning.

And For Making Those Delicious Muffins, I Leave My Housekeeper One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) With My Love and Affection
Mistake #16 Leaving behind a hand–written or will–kit instead of retaining professional assistance.

Insert Section A into Widget B and Pour in Rubber Cement
Mistake #17 Storing your will incorrectly.

Penny–Wise and Pound Foolish
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
Mistake #19 Neglecting to update your will as you enter marriage or a committed relationship.

Then Comes Baby in the Baby Carriage!
Mistake #20 Not updating wills to reflect the life stages of your children.

It Was Fun While It Lasted!
Mistake #21 Neglecting to appropriately reflect separation and divorce in your estate plan.

You Need a Plan, Stan
Mistake #22 Neglecting to do appropriate planning for the death of key people in a privately held business or farm.

Well, He Sure Can Mix a Mean Martini!
Mistake #23 Selecting the wrong executor.

I Don t Care if Johnny is in Jail, He s My Little Boy!
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"
Mistake #25 Failing to consider a corporate executor and trustee when appropriate.

" Bond. James Bond."
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
Mistake #27 Failing to think through how the executors will make decisions.

And No Red Bull After 6 P.M.!
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!
Mistake #29 Not thinking through the ramifications of giving property to minor children.

I Love You All the Way to the Moon and Back
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!
Mistake #31 Not dealing appropriately with family s recreational property.

" And Those of my Office Plants Alive at my Death to my Partner, Hugh, for His Own Use Absolutely"
Mistake #32 Inadequately planning for the distribution of your personal effects.

The Society of Wayward Pets and Other Causes Close to Your Heart
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
Mistake #34 Not paying enough attention to the ownership and description of your assets.

You Can t Give What You Ain t Got!
Mistake #35 Not paying enough attention to describing the gifts in your will appropriately.

Canada Revenue Who?
Mistake #36 Making errors that may result in additional taxation of your estate.

Can I Have a Silver Spoon with That?
Mistake #37 Misunderstanding trusts in general and mistakes in the trustee selection.

Can I Have a Silver Spoon with That? The Sequel
Mistake #38 Making mistakes in setting out the terms of the trusts in the will.

Minimum Wage Sounds about Right, Marge
Mistake #39 Not planning ahead for the compensation of your executor.


I Can t Even Read This Thing!
Mistake #40 Overlooking opportunities to retaining help with administering and estate.

I ve Always Been a Do–It–Yourself Kind of Gal
Mistake #41 Making mistakes in retaining or working with the professionals you hire to assist you with the estate administration.

I Always Like that Susie the Best
Mistake #42 Failing to fully understand the fiduciary nature of the role of the executor.

Do I Need to Miss my Golf Game?
Mistake #43 Not taking control of the state from the outset.

What, You Want My Phone Number Too?
Mistake #44 Not communicating effectively with the beneficiaries of the estate.

Let s Just Tidy This Up Today
Mistake #45 Failing to get properly informed and organized and underestimating the work involved.

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

I Never Knew Apiaries were So Complicated
Mistake #47 Incorrectly dealing with the estate assets (excluding the personal effects).

Okay Everybody, Take What You Like and Don t Forget the Cat
Mistake #48 Not dealing with personal effects in an effective manner.

I Thought I Knew Him Better Than That
Mistake #49 Expecting the estate to go smoothly all of the time and being unprepared for the unexpected.

Back Seat Driving is a Snap!
Mistake #50 Being a belligerent beneficiary.



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Jean Blacklock
Sarah Kruger
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