Do it yourself Estate Planning: Bad News Part 5

November 20, 2007

Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, PVB, Ponte Vedra Beach, Orange Park, Florida WillProfessor Gerry W. Beyer author of the Wills, Trusts, & Estates Professors Blog, as reported on a mistake in estate planning where a Another Self-Help Estate Plan Gone Awry. In this case a man decided not to consult with anestate planning lawyer. He transferred the family home to his stepchildren son and $150,000 of securities to his son.

The house was highly appreciated and as such was a poor asset to select to use as a lifetime gift. Because it was transferred during life, the children had to use the father's basis instead of the price of the home at the death of the father. This resulted in over $80,000 in capital gains liability.

In addition the house, because it was transferred within 3 years of death, was still included in the father's estate value and did not reduce his estate taxes.

The moral of the story: Spontaneous self-help by a Testator / Grantor can backfire and deprive heirs of large percentages of an estate and prompt family tensions. Professional planning would have made a huge difference to this man's family.

Some other examples of Do it your self wills and bad news are covered in my articles listed below

Do it Yourself Wills? More bad news and
Do it Yourself Wills? a Good Idea or Not?
Do it yourself Estate Planning: Bad News Part 3
Do it yourself Estate Planning: Bad News Part 4

This is a common mistake found in Florida Probate cases, when people try to make their own wills, or transfer their assets without getting professional help from an attorney or accountant who is familiar with the effects of gifting and estate planning.

If you have used software, a form, or an online service to prepare your will, you should have it reviewed by a Florida Estate planning Attorney for potential problems.