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Three Classic Estate Planning Blunders

April 14, 2011
Maui Weekly

Failure to plan: You have heard that failing to plan is planning to fail, and it is true. Some people procrastinate with their estate plans for a variety of reasons, one of them being their refusal to accept their own mortality. In reality, we all know that passing into the Great Beyond is not an “if,” but a “when.” And it will make a tremendous difference to your loved ones, your pets and your favorite charities, if you have made a plan for what happens to “your stuff” (everything you own) when you won’t be around to deal with it personally.

Your estate plan should also take into the account the possibility that you may become incapacitated someday. This is an issue that has become increasingly important as advances in medical science make it possible for us to live longer.

Although we live longer today than in years past, a growing number of us ends up needing long-term care. And unfortunately, medical science is still working hard to find the causes and come up with solutions to the various forms of dementia. So it is absolutely critical to plan for how you and your loved ones will deal with the issues of long-term care. And not the least of those issues is determining how you will pay for it.

Failure to implement: Having a plan is great, but failing to implement your plan renders it all but worthless. One of the primary ways people fail to implement their plans is to neglect to transfer their assets into the right “buckets.” If you have a revocable living trust, it should probably hold most, if not all, of your assets. Yet many people die with assets in their own names, which results in costly and time-consuming probate proceedings that could easily have been avoided with some simple asset transfers.

Failure to update: Once you have set your course with your estate plan, you have to remember that even the best of plans will require course corrections. Your health will change. Your stuff will change. The law will change. The list of people you like and trust will change. It is important for your estate plan to change so you can be sure that it will work as intended. The best way to do this is through a regular discipline—reviewing your estate plan and updating it when necessary.

Our Website,, provides some excellent information about how to create, implement and update an estate plan that will successfully transition you and your loved ones through life’s inevitable eventualities.



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