This is the 21st in a series of 23 tax tips that AdvisorOne is publishing on each business day in March as part of our Tax Planning Special Report (see our Special Report calendar for a more complete list of topics to be covered and experts who will deliver their insights).
Today’s tax tip comes from Martin Shenkman of Shenkman Law, with offices in New Jersey and New York. Shenkman is the author of 34 books, hundreds of magazine and journal articles, and received his undergraduate education from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, his MBA from the University of Michigan, and his JD from Fordham University.
The Tip: Coordinating beneficiary designations and titles to wills.
One common failure that Shenkman sees is failing to coordinate beneficiary designations and titles to wills. Clients often believe, says Shenkman (left), that all their estate tax problems are solved once they’ve gone through the process of making a will and designating bequests with the guidance of an attorney. But clients can undo all that hard work, he points out, by failing to coordinate beneficiary designations for their IRAs, life insurance policies, and brokerage accounts by relying on “the guidance of a bank teller.” In effect, they can negate most, if not all, of what they’ve gone to such pains to organize.