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We have seen a significant increase in estate planning over the last few years.  Many of our clients have choose to create a revocable living trust instead of relying on a will or joint ownership to pass assets to their family. They like that with a revocable trust, their assets can pass to their loved ones without having to go through probate, which in turn saves time and money.

Let’s face it, most of us do not want to think about ourselves or our loved ones growing old and facing death. It’s not surprising that this aversion can lead to estate planning mistakes which can cost your family time, money, and stress. Unfortunately, we often see how these mistakes can have a devastating effect on families. Below are some of the most common estate planning mistakes that we encounter:

So many times we have a family that comes in with a Quit Claim Deed that they have prepared in order to avoid probate, which is the court process your heirs go through after you pass away with assets just in your name.  While it seems simple enough, there are many specifications that must be met in order to properly avoid probate and avoid other possible major issues in the future.

Most estate planning mistakes tend to be fall into one of several categories. Every estate plan is unique to your family, but the same problems and mistakes seem to reoccur.  Many of these mistakes don’t vary with the value of an estate.  Also, each of these common mistakes is avoidable.  You just need the knowledge of what to beware of and a little time working with your planner.

Can you trust your trust?  It’s not a catchy line, but an important question.  Many times, families are sold on the need for a trust to solidify their estate planning wishes.  This is all true, as trusts are a valuable legal tool for various family dynamics and inheritance.  In fact, trusts drafted and funded properly should help avoid family disputes.

As most of you know by now, the Veterans Administration (VA) released new regulations that makes it more difficult to qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension.  These new regulations provide new rules regarding an applicant’s net worth and provide new Medicaid-like transfer penalties.

Seeing loved ones age can bring a flood of emotions.  Of past memories and accomplishments, of current challenges, and even fear.  Much of that fear comes from the uncertainty about what’s next, and how to properly care for a relative.  This is especially so with a parent or family member diagnosed with dementia.  It robs their initiative, independence, and their very identity.   This is perhaps the most personal of diseases, as it takes away what a person’s essence was to themselves and their family.

As you begin to prepare to send your child off to college, you’re probably busy running around shopping, getting books, packing up for the move, filling out financial aid forms, and helping your child find classes.  However, there is one important thing that you may be forgetting:  Have you had your child sign a Designation of Patient Advocate and a Durable Power of Attorney?