Estate Planning Potholes
After a long period of neglect, some of the potholes on my street were finally patched. Hitting an unseen pothole with your car can cause you serious time and money. The same is true of estate planning where neglect can cause serious financial harm to your heirs. However, these potholes can be avoided with careful estate planning.
This will be the first of a series of blogs on some common estate planning potholes that can be easily avoided. Many of these potholes are simply prevented by keeping your estate planning attorney aware of changes in your life.
The first pothole is joint ownership of your bank accounts. Adding a child as a joint owner on your bank account as a convenience is a common temptation which should be resisted as it can backfire with unintended consequences. These assets may become subject to divorce, garnishment, and bankruptcy proceedings of the added joint owner. The more joint owners that you add to the account, the greater the risk is. Further upon your death, the assets held in a joint account will go directly to the joint owner(s) which may be contrary to your plans contained in your will or trust.
Instead, you should consider using a financial power of attorney to name someone you trust to handle your financial affairs such as paying your bills to avoid the joint bank account pothole.
Steven Knecht helps clients with estate planning. With 35+ years of experience, he listens to you to create a Will or other estate planning document that works the way you want it to which may not occur with a document obtained through on-line resources. For more information concerning your estate planning and trust needs, call and ask for Steven Knecht for a personal consultation.
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