Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid


Tyler and Chuck sit down to review a NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) conference presentation by Bob Morrison attended by Chuck at the fall conference. We pull out and dissect several estate planning mistakes that are made and how to avoid them.


We start by reviewing the current estate tax exemption (the amount which your estate is not subject to taxes when you die) and its upcoming changes. The federal estate tax exemption for 2022 is $12.06 million, increasing to $12.92 million in 2023 due to its annual adjustment for inflation. These figures are per person, giving a married couple an estate tax exemption of $24.12 million in 2022. The current exemption was doubled under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) and is set to expire in 2026. This means in 2026 the estate tax exemption will fall to an estimated $6.8 million per person or $13.6 million per married couple.


We follow the estate tax discussion with some estate planning mistakes to avoid including: leaving the wrong assets to charity at death, not considering tax implication of heirs and the type of assets you leave to them, not filing a 706 estate tax return, having accounts misaligned with your estate plan, not updating IRA or life insurance beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries, not updating your will and trusts after a death or divorce, gifting low cost basis assets before death, not obtaining power of attorney (POA) documents for kids, and not considering the gift annual gift exclusion or direct payments for education or medical purposes.


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