Many of our clients have preconceived notions about estate planning. We often hear many of the same questions and assumptions, over and over.
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We often hear the same misconceptions regarding estate planning.
Here are a few of the common misconceptions surrounding estate planning:
- Misconception: A Will helps to avoid probate court. This is false. A will almost certainly guarantees that your estate will wind up in probate court. You then
- Misconception: I need to distribute my assets equally to my children. Some of our clients really struggle with how to distribute assets to their children, as some children have greater needs than others. We let them know their plan can be tailored in a way that allows for certain distributions for a child who needs them. Proper planning can stagger distributions at different times or ages. Your estate plan can be tailored to meet the needs of your beneficiaries.
- Misconception: I don’t need an estate plan unless I’m old and/or rich. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Estate plans come in all different shapes and sizes to fit your particular circumstance. However, it is essential that you have one. Even if you don’t have many assets, you should plan for incapacity and have the appropriate Powers of Attorney in place. This allows you to select the person who can make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated. If you have minor children, it is essential that you name guardians for your children. We often recommend 18-year-olds have very simple documents in place, so that their parents or loved ones can be involved in their healthcare, should they become incapacitated.
- Misconception: A Will and a Trust accomplish the same thing. We often hear confusion over the differences between a Will and a Trust. We like to say that a Trust accomplishes all the things that people often think a Will accomplishes. Very simply, a Will is only effective at death and states what will happen to your assets at death. It will likely go through probate, which will incur additional costs and time and make your estate public record. A Will is usually simpler and cheaper to draft up front. A Trust also states what happens to your assets at death. However, Trusts also provide for your incapacity, have additional liability protections, are not a matter of public record and do not need to be probated.
- Misconception: I can do my estate planning online. While it’s true, you can do estate planning online, your estate plan will likely not be tailored to your circumstances, may not protect your assets, and might not even be legal. When people use online estate planning software, it often ends up in their loved ones incurring large fees to straighten out the estate after they pass away.
Let us know if you have questions as to what type of estate plan is right for you or your loved ones. We are happy to help answer any questions or address your estate planning misconceptions.
Contact us today to help you get the right documents in place or to update your current estate plan. We will plan so that you don’t have to worry about your future.
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