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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top ten worst estate planning ideas

Yesterday in my seminar with the Alberta Government Civil Lawyers Association, I talked about the top ten bad ideas for estate planning. It really wasn't hard to come up with ten bad ideas. In fact, limiting the list to only ten was the challenge! In the end, I went with the ten that I see most often, and that seem to do the most damage. Here's my list:

Lynne's list of the top ten worst estate planning ideas:

10. A parent makes an adult child a joint owner of the parent's bank account.

9. A parent leaves the title to the family cottage to all of the children equally.

8. Loans between parents and children are not documented.

7. All of the kids are named together on the parent's will, Enduring Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive.

6. Executors are chosen from each "side" of a blended family to work together.

5. A person applies masking tape to the back of every item in the house, and labels it with the name of the person who they want to inherit the item.

4. Taxation is not taken into account.

3. The estate of the first parent who passed away was never wound up.

2. The child sits in on the parent's meeting with the estate planning lawyer.

1.  No planning documents of any kind are put into place.

Not sure why any particular item is on the list? Leave a comment here and I'll go into it further, even though I've blogged about many of these already.

After the seminar, a person confided in me that she has done at least two of the things on the list. That happens a lot. That's the reason I do these seminars - to alert people to possible problems before it's too late to change things.

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