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Kansas City, Kansas Estate Planning and Tax Law Blog

The three most common estate planning mistakes

Putting together an estate plan is an obstacle for many families. First, you may not know where to begin. Second, you may not know where to go once you start; and, third, you're afraid of making mistakes that could affect lifelong assets and valuable property. All of these concerns are valid, and estate planning attorneys are available to address them with you and your family.

If you're seeking more information on estate planning, chances are that you're trying to alleviate some of these concerns. Putting plans into action requires complex and evolving paperwork, and you need to make sure that it works together when you need it the most.

End-Of-Life Care Plans Communicate Your Wishes To Loved Ones

Most people have a disconnect between thinking about their later years and actually taking action, especially when it comes to estate planning and health care directives. Maybe it’s a fear of mortality and maybe it’s uncertainty about medical treatments. Regardless of the reason, the fact is that most Americans don’t have a defined plan to get them through their end of life years.

It’s reported that fewer than halfof Americans have a will. Even fewer have plans for their late years when health declines. According to a new study, only 37 percent of the total population has a plan for their late-life health care decisions.

Proposed Tax Reform Would Shift Home-Ownership Equation

President Trump has proposed tax policy change that has the potential to make home ownership less attractive for many Americans. The proposal would increase the standard income tax deduction to a point where only the wealthiest Americans would benefit by taking itemized deductions instead.

Under the proposed plan, the standard deduction for married couple filing jointly would jump from $12,700 to $24,000. Bloomberg reports that a couple would need to have a mortgage of about $608,000 before it would be worth it to take the itemized deduction instead of the standard one. That means that 25 million homeowners who currently itemize deductions would no longer do so on the new plan.

How to name beneficiaries in an estate plan

Even if you don't already have an estate plan, you have probably thought about how you would want to pass on your property and assets. Turning these wishes into reality requires a careful legal process. How are these steps taken and what should people who want to pass on part of their estate know about their role in the process?

Estate planning should include beneficiary designations

A person named in beneficiary designations will receive assets such as a 401(k), IRA or life insurance. If you want a particular person or persons to receive specific benefits, they should be named in beneficiary designations. Without designations, assets may pass on in accordance with a default contractual agreement or state law.