An estate plan should do a number of different things for you and your family members. It should provide your surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren with financial stability and support. Your estate plan should also ensure that your final wishes are carried out when you are no longer able to manage your financial affairs. Having an estate plan also prevents problems between beneficiaries, protects the privacy of families by preventing wills from becoming public record, and establishes and meets expectations of survivors to ensure misunderstandings and confusion are kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, people rarely prepare for the possibility of their estate plan not working.

 Failure to Transfer Assets

After struggling to get your family together to discuss the topic that no one wants to talk about, it is surprisingly easy to forget to transfer certain assets. Dealing with all of the tax issues and other problems that come along with estate planning is distracting and stressful, increasing the likelihood of things being overlooked. If you do not take the time to transfer your assets into the trust structures or accounts that were recommended to you during the process of creating your estate plan (otherwise known as titling), the plan itself will not work. If your assets are not where they should be when you die, how can they be distributed properly?

 Forgetting to Coordinate the Designations for Your Retirement Account

If you forget to designate a beneficiary for your retirement account, your estate will be regarded as the beneficiary. This would mean that the retirement account would then be distributed over a specific amount of time (but not more than five years). This “minor” mistake would also mean that your retirement account would be taxed at much higher rates.

 Your Estate Plan is Too Rigid

All estate plans should have some amount of flexibility. Federal and state laws pertaining to estate taxes can change from year to year, and those changes can affect your estate plan minimally or even drastically. When you are gone, you will not be able to anticipate how laws will change or how your loved ones’ lives and circumstances might change. By providing for flexibility and options in your estate plan, you can feel at peace that the assets that you leave behind will be distributed when and how they are needed.

 A Lawyer Who is Not an Estate or Trust Attorney Handled the Drafting of Your Estate Plan

If you had a tooth that was bothering you, would you go to a plastic surgeon to get it fixed? Attorneys who have spent years working on estate plans and trusts understand the intricacies and keep up with the updated laws regarding them. It is best to consult an attorney who focuses on estate planning in order to ensure you are getting advice from someone who truly understands estates.

 Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is working on creating a viable estate plan, it is important to discuss your needs with a qualified estate attorney. MMZ Law understands that estate planning is stressful yet necessary. Contact our conveniently located Claremont, California office today and schedule your FREE consultation. Please call (909) 256-6702. We located near Upland, Pomona and La Verne.



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of trust & estate, elder law, special needs, conservatorship, trust administration, and probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.