One would assume that the wealthy would have enough to lose that they would not make estate planning mistakes; however, everyone is susceptible to making mistakes, even the wealthy. In fact, they make some of the same mistakes that those with modest estates make. Some of the most common estate planning mistakes made by the wealthy include:
- Failure to update their estate plan. Although most people with large estates do have some type of estate plan in place, they often forget that they, more than most, need to review and update their plan frequently as their assets and financial portfolios change.
- Failing to coordinate. Most wealthy individuals have an estate planning attorney and a slew of financial and investment advisors. Instead of working with them separately, a joint approach is usually more productive.
- Failing to gift prior to death. For most wealthy individuals, lifetime gifting provides numerous tax advantages as well as considerably more control over the gifted assets than gifting upon death does.
- Failing to use trusts. Trusts have evolved to the point where they can accomplish numerous estate planning goals at once. The more estate assets you have the more trusts you may wish to create to serve your individual goals.
- Failing to involve family early on. Wealth transfer among the generations requires planning and understanding among the beneficiaries. By involving your family members early on in the process there is less chance that something will go wrong down the road.