Many people ask themselves “is estate planning for me?” and think that estate planning is just for other people. Here are some common estate planning misconceptions:
- Estate planning is just for older people. While the elderly need to do estate planning, so do those who are younger. Unfortunately, death and disability can strike at any age. Estate planning is for anyone who wants to have a smooth transition in such an event.
- Estate planning is only for people who are married. While married people benefit from estate planning, in many ways unmarried individuals need estate planning even more. Without any planning, state laws typically provide for assets to go to the spouse or children. For unmarried individuals with neither children nor an estate plan, the assets go to parents or siblings, even if that is not what is wanted.
- Estate planning is only for people who have millions of dollars. While some issues, such as estate taxes, only apply to people with considerable wealth, many of the elements of a comprehensive estate plan, such as communicating your health care wishes, providing for your well-being and that of your dependents in the event of a disability, and passing on family values and creating incentives for heirs to behave in a desired manner are issues that affect everyone. Further, estate planning can help provide divorce and creditor protection for your spouse and children.
- Estate planning is only for people with children. Estate planning is even for people without children because it helps plan to take care of you during periods of your own incapacity. So, even if you don’t care who gets your things after your death, estate planning should be a priority.
- I don’t need a Trust, because I have a Will. Wills have their place in estate planning. However, a Will does not avoid probate. Probate is the process to take assets which were titled in the name of the person who died and re-title them to someone else. If the assets are in a Revocable Living Trust, they can avoid the public process of probate and the potential costs and delays involved.
- I don’t need to do estate planning because I am never going to die. This is the unspoken excuse we all give ourselves. Of course, we know this is illogical. One of the few certainties in this mortal life is that it has an end. Estate planning helps plan for that inevitability. But, estate planning does much more. It helps you organize your affairs so that you can get the most out of life.
Whether you are single or married, with or without children, young or elderly, estate planning can help you get the most out of life while preparing for the possibility of incapacity or death. Don’t be fooled by these common estate planning misconceptions. The McGee Law Firm can help you choose the plan that is right for you.
Compliments of the McGee Law Firm, Attorney Brandon McGee
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys