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Photo of Professionals at McCoy Fatula, APC

Watch out for these estate planning disasters!

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2017 | Estate Planning

The last thing a grieving spouse in California needs is to face legal problems regarding financial affairs. To avoid such complications, many couples execute estate planning documents alongside help from experienced attorneys who can alert them of any hidden issues that may pose potential problems when one of the spouses dies. For instance, one widower ran into trouble concerning his deceased wife’s 401(k) assets.

The man had two stepchildren to whom he and his wife agreed one-third of her 401(k) assets should go after her death. He himself was to receive the other third. His name was listed as a direct beneficiary on her estate plan.

The problem is, her children’s names were never added. Thus, the man was forced to pay exorbitant taxes after transferring the funds to a personal account, then give the children the money their mother intended for them. Had the couple updated the estate plan to include the children’s names as beneficiaries, tax expenses would have been much lower.

The estate planning process typically includes several different ways to add beneficiaries to an account. Keeping a plan updated is a crucial factor in avoiding complications down the line. In order to make informed decisions that best align with particular needs and inheritance goals, California residents may consult with probate and estate administration attorneys for guidance. Acting alongside skilled representation often prevents potentially disastrous mistakes and helps estate owners execute thorough plans that allow their loved ones to avoid lengthy probate processes and keep tax burdens to a minimum when the time comes to administer their estates.

Source:, “Hidden estate planning mistakes that have horrible consequences“, Dana Anspach, March 6, 2017

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