Each of these 13 disturbing estate planning facts is true; but, each situation can be avoided with a strong, individualized, comprehensive, and up-to-date estate plan.
· If you don’t name a guardian in your will, your minor children could end up with persons you either don’t like or don’t know.
· If you don’t provide for your pet in your estate plan, your pet may be euthanized when you die.
· If you put assets in joint tenancy with a second spouse, your children may be disinherited.
· If you put the family vacation house in joint tenancy with a sibling, your children will not inherit your share of the house if you die before your sibling.
· A troubled child’s inheritance could make a drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction worse or even kill them.
· After you die, your spouse may loan or give the assets you left for the family to a new friend/spouse.
· Your gift to a family member may disqualify him or her from receiving Medicaid or Veterans benefits to pay for long term care expenses.
· Powers of attorneys may get “stale” and should be updated every few years.
· If your spouse gets into a serious car accident after your death, all of the assets that you left for him or her and the children can be seized in a law suit.
· Your child’s spouse could get his or her hands on all of the money you give to your child outright.
· If you put your child’s name on your house or bank account, his or her creditors may be able to seize those assets.
· If you transfer your house to your children during your lifetime, they get your original tax basis and could pay much higher capital gains taxes when they sell it than if you transferred the house to them at your death.
· Assets given outright to a special needs beneficiary are likely to disqualify him or her from receiving vital governmental assistance. So, your money goes down the drain and causes a logistical hassle.
Indeed these estate planning facts are completely avoidable with good planning. Be sure to consult with a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney.