Getting your estate planning affairs in order? We often see estate planning errors that can be time-consuming and expensive for your loved ones to resolve.
Here are our tips for avoiding these common estate planning errors that will cost your family money:
1. Not Having an Estate Plan
Having no estate plan is the number one mistake you can make.
It will be extremely expensive for your family to administer your estate without a plan to follow. The state of North Carolina will dictate how your assets are distributed. If your family wants to change what is mandated by state laws they will have to engage in a difficult and expensive legal battle. A simple estate plan that includes your Last Will and Testament will provide enough guidance to your family to avoid these expensive legal costs.
For more on dying without a will, see our previous post: Does my spouse get Everything If I Don’t Have A Will In North Carolina?
2. Using Online Lawyers or DIY Documents
Do-It-Yourself legal documents are easy to find online and may seem like a cheap and quick option for drafting an estate plan. However, you will get what you pay for.
While you may think you are saving money on the front end, you will likely end up with a poorly drafted document that will cost your family much more time and money to sort out after you are gone. Having an experienced lawyer draft your will can be an inexpensive way to let your family know exactly what you want, ultimately saving them precious time and money at an already difficult time.
When you meet with experienced legal and tax professionals, they will provide individualized recommendations that fit your specific financial and personal needs. They will also ensure that your documents comply with North Carolina’s nuanced requirements and will keep your records updated as laws change.
3. Not Gifting Your Assets
Did you know that the IRS allows for gifts up to $15,000 a year per spouse to be excluded from estate tax?
In other words, a couple can together gift up to $30,000 to each of their heirs every year. If you do not gift that money before you pass away, your children will be taxed if your estate is in the Federal Estate and Gift Tax Range. You will save your family a lot of money in taxes if you maximize your gifts every year.
Are you guilty of making any of these mistakes? You are not alone. We can help you avoid these and other costly estate planning errors to protect your family and your financial well-being. The lawyers at Perry, Bundy, Plyler, and Long LLP have over 90 years of combined experience preparing estate plans for North Carolina families.