7 Myths About Estate Planning
Estate planning is the process of drafting legal documents to protect your assets. This includes wills, trusts, powers of attorney, guardianship, healthcare directives, and more that provide a peace of mind your estate and assets will be managed correctly. However, there are many misconceptions surrounding estate planning that discourages individuals to take the proper preparation. This post will dispel some of the common myths surrounding estate planning and hopefully inspire you to update your own plan!
"Estate planning is only about wills and distributing assets"
While asset distribution and drafting wills are essential parts of estate planning, there are many other components that ensure your wishes are followed. Appointing financial and healthcare powers of attorney, establishing trusts, designating beneficiaries, assisting with real estate issues, appointing guardians for minors, reducing taxes upon your estate, avoiding probate, and more are all within the scope of estate planning. Having a plan for your estate can help you be prepared for any and all scenarios.
"I don't need a will, my family will sort it out"
Without a will and proper estate planning documents, state laws will dictate how your estate is distributed. Your assets may be subject to probate or managed by a personal representative, both of which are out of your control. Estate planning documents help clearly identify how you want your assets handled, and avoid potential disputes among your loved ones.
“I can find these documents online, I don’t need an attorney”
Many third-party companies provide estate planning documents online for little to no cost. Though some of these documents are sufficient, there is room for error that could potentially put your estate at risk. These common documents also do not address the uniqueness of your estate, and specific details regarding the distribution of your assets could be overlooked. It can be beneficial to seek the help of attorneys to ensure your specific estate is handled correctly and all possibilities are accounted for.
"Estate planning is only for the wealthy"
Estate planning can be beneficial for individuals of all income levels. Regardless of the size or worth of your estate, having a plan for how you want your assets to be handled will minimize potential conflicts and mishandling of your assets. Without proper estate planning documents, your estate may be subject to post-death administration proceedings that can put unnecessary stress on your loved ones.
“I’m too young to need a will”
The unexpected can happen to anyone at any time. Having an estate plan is beneficial for individuals over 18 in the event of an emergency. Drafting a will, creating a trust, designating guardians for minors, and appointing powers of attorney can ensure your wishes are followed before it is too late.
“The eldest child is always the director of their parents’ estate”
You are allowed to appoint any qualified individual to be the personal representative, or person in charge of your estate. Without a will or trust specifically naming a personal representative, your assets may be handled by someone that does not follow your wishes.
"I already have a will"
Estate planning is an ongoing process that may need changes as you age and acquire assets. Significant life events, such as marriage, having children, financial circumstances, death, purchase or sale of real estate, and more can all change how you want your estate to be handled. Periodically reviewing your estate documents can ensure your wishes are consistently followed.
If you would like to update your own estate plan, give us a call today! We are ready and able to help you!