3 Critical Mistakes People Make in Their Estate Planning

Available for Interviews: Glenn Matecun.

Glenn R. Metecun, CELA, is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Interview Glenn to learn more about estate planning for our vulnerable seniors.

Talking Points on 3 Mistakes
People Make in Their Estate Planning

  1. Not updating their estate plan after a divorce. Rules are complicated and if you leave an old plan in place it can cause confusion and problems. This is particularly true for beneficiary designations on life insurance or retirement accounts. If you leave an ex-spouse on as a beneficiary after a divorce, he or she may still be entitled to your money after you’re gone.

  2. Not planning after a second marriage. Second marriages, especially where each spouse has children from a prior relationship, are complicated. Without good planning, all assets of one spouse pass to the other on the first spouse’s death. What does that mean? It means that the surviving spouse can leave those assets to his or her own children, and not yours. One of the biggest areas of lawsuits we see are stepchildren fighting about their inheritance.

  3. Adding a child’s name to your home or financial accounts. I call this “colliding your assets with your children’s problems”. Many times we see women placing a child’s name on their home or financial accounts. This is particularly true after the death of a spouse, where the widow feels like she needs to put someone in place to manage assets in case she can’t do it herself. Here’s the problem. Adding someone’s name to your account makes them an “owner”. If they have a problem (divorce, car accident, IRS lien, etc.), that problem attaches to your home or your money. Also, as the co-owner with you, they receive the asset immediately on your death. This is true whether you have a Will, and it is true whether or not you wanted those assets to be divided among other beneficiaries (for example, your other children will get nothing if you make one child co-owner of your home or financial accounts). There is a much better way – name that person as your “power of attorney”. Then they can help if you need help, but they don’t “own” your asset and you stay in control.

Review Your Plan. The law changes. Your family changes, your money changes and your health changes. Your estate planning attorney should keep you up-to-date on the legal side as the law changes. But if you have a change in family (birth or death), finances (new job, inheritance), or health, you should reassess your plan.

Plan Ahead. Planning ahead ensures that you stay in control while you are here, and that your property and money are distributed in the easiest, most efficient, tax-friendly way possible. If you don’t plan, your estate will likely be involved in the time-consuming, expensive and emotionally-draining probate court process, and also place a burden on your loved ones who may or may not know what you wanted.


Available for Interviews: Glenn Matecun.

Jo Allison
PR Managing Editor
Success In Media, Inc.

Leave a Reply