Besides not making a plan (which is a huge mistake all by itself), here are the top three estate planning mistakes I see almost every week:
1. Using “joint ownership” to plan. Do not put your kids’ names on your bank accounts or home without fully understanding the legal consequences. This can be a disaster.
2. Not planning for incapacity. A high percentage of people will become incapacitated at some point in life. So, beyond a Will or Trust, everyone should also have an updated Power of Attorney for financial matters and health care decisions. There are specific provisions you must have in your Power of Attorney to make sure it works.
3. Not reviewing your plan every couple years. If you don’t review your estate plan every two years (or when you have a major family change), it may not work the way you want it to.
We will review your estate plan at no charge to make sure it is up to date. Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call me at (517) 548-7400.
Glenn Matecun is a founder of the law firm of Matecun, Thomas & Olson, PLC in Howell. He is an attorney focusing on estate planning, elder law and senior Veterans’ benefits, and answers readers’ questions on legal matters affecting seniors and their families. Listen to Glenn on Senior Law Radio, WMUZ 103.5 FM, every Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Email questions to [email protected], or if your question is urgent, call (517) 548-7400. Visit us at www.MichiganEstatePlans.com. The information in this column is not intended as legal advice.