For some people, the idea of estate planning seems awfully lofty, confusing, and perhaps even unnecessary. That often results in certain misconceptions about planning one’s estate. And unfortunately, if you make certain mistakes with estate planning, it’s possible that no one will realize it before it’s too late to make changes. The reality is that just about everyone can benefit from working with estate lawyers to make sure their loved ones are provided for through a will, trust, or another directive. But if you believe these popular misconceptions, your family may experience financial loss and emotional stress as a result.
MISCONCEPTION: Only those who are very wealthy need help from an estate planning attorney.
Reality: Regardless of your financial circumstances, you can preserve what you have, granted you’re getting the right legal advice. Planning out an estate can feel like a rich man’s concept, but it’s actually the best way to ensure your loved ones are able to financially benefit when you pass away. Around 65.2% of families owned their primary residence in 2013, and anyone who owns property should definitely be working with an estate planning attorney. In your will, you can specify how assets should be distributed and you can even specify how you want health care decisions to be made if you become incapacitated. It’s not about how well-off you are; it’s really about making sure what you have is kept safe and that your wishes are carried out.
MISCONCEPTION: I’m too young for estate planning.
Reality: A lot of people make the mistake of putting off writing their will until they’re much older; they think it’s something they can wait to worry about. Unfortunately, life events don’t always wait. An unexpected illness, spur-of-the-moment accident, or sudden death could could drastically alter your and your family’s reality. We’ve all heard of celebrities who tragically pass away without a will, leaving their families entangled in legal battles for years. When you pass on, you don’t want to add to your family’s grief by making them engage in such a battle. By planning ahead, you’ll have peace of mind that there will be no question as to your wishes. Should the worst occur, you won’t put your loved ones through emotional anguish.
MISCONCEPTION: I can draw up my own will without an estate planning attorney.
Reality: There are many services you can use to draft your own legal documents. In some cases, these may be totally appropriate and fairly straightforward. However, you should still have these documents looked over by a lawyer to make sure there are no errors or omissions. In more complicated circumstances (i.e., if you have been divorced, have children, or want to leave money to a charity), it’s best to work with a lawyer to make sure you’re using the best tools at your disposal. Your attorney may alert you to issues or options you didn’t even know about. Feel free to do some research on your own, but it’s always a good idea to obtain assistance from someone with more experience in this arena.
Despite what many people think, estate planning is not only for the wealthy or the elderly, nor is it something you should pursue entirely on your own. To find out more about planning your estate and how our staff can help you, contact Garner and Conner today.