ANDERSEN PLLC Andersen PLLCAttorneys

Advocating For Your Interests. Preserving Your Legacy.

How do I avoid estate planning failure?

In Arizona, estate planning often ends in failure. At least 70 percent of estates suffer financial losses or family discord, according to a 2007 book. Failure is preventable, however.

There are two causes underlying failure. First, heirs are unprepared for financial changes by lacking the aptitude or knowledge to deal with newly-acquired money or property. Others are emotionally unprepared for handling new wealth. Some heirs have both problems.

Unprepared heirs make money disappear. Unwise spending decisions, poor investments, neglect and fraud can swallow assets. Heirs must know learn wealth management before receiving their inheritance. If parents cannot provide this guidance, financial advisors can hold workshops or other instruction.

Surprise is another problem. Heirs are unware of the details of their parent's estate until they pass away. According to a survey, 40 percent of parents never discussed these intentions with their children, while only 28 percent of children were aware of their parent's estate plans. Twenty-five percent of married adults admitted that their spouses were the only people who knew where estate documents were kept. Sadly, 40 percent of surviving heirs thought that their parents' estate plans were unfair.

These statistics show that many family members face unpleasant surprises during estate distribution. This leads to discord and even litigation. Informing children about the estate's value, giving them financial experience and providing periodic updates can avoid this problem.

The second significant problem is not implementing and regularly updating an estate plan. This includes failing to create a living trust that avoids probate and ensures competent management if there is disability. Deeds, real estate, vehicles and other financial assets must be placed in the trust's name or it will run out of assets.

Implementation also requires that family members are aware of powers of attorney and advanced medical directives. Agents must know about these documents and have access to them or important directives may not be implemented.

Finally, plans must be updated, or they may become obsolete because of major life changes or new laws. These plans should be reviewed every few years. An attorney can help draft these important documents and assure that they are current and appropriate. They can provide guidance on their proper implementation.

Source: Forbes, "Most estate plans fail, but yours can be a success," Bob Carlson, May 9, 2018

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for a response

Send Your Information

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

17015 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 225
Scottsdale, AZ 85255

Phone: 480-900-3539
Fax: 480-265-9101
Scottsdale Law Office Map