While most people understand the importance of planning for their estate, there are also a lot of people that seem to think of it as a luxury according to our friends at Kaplan Law Practice, LLC. In fact there are five prevalent myths in the estate planning business that need to be dispelled.
- I am too young for estate planning. This could be true if you are under 18, however, if you are a legal adult, you most likely would benefit from some form of estate planning. As an adult, you likely have some assets, whether it is money in a bank account, a car, jewelry or some other valuable asset and you should get a say in what happens to those things if you should pass away. While obviously it is less likely for young people to pass away, tragedies do happen and it is good to be prepared.
- I do not have a lot of money, so I do not need to plan for my estate. It is a common misconception that estate planning is only for wealthy people. Most people do have some things of value, even if it is not of monetary value. You can plan for who gets sentimental items in your will as well. Also, estate planning can cover things outside of finances like medical directives so that you have a say in your healthcare should you become in capacitated.
- I do not need a lawyer because I can find a template for a will online. It is true that there are templates for a will online, however they may not be legally binding since each state has different laws. Or, the will may be a great template for someone, but it does not protect the things that you care about. That is why it is usually a good idea to discuss your will with an estate planning lawyer to make sure you are actually making a document that is legally binding and that it is the best option for what is important to you.
- If I pass away without a will, my estate will automatically go to my next of kin. This is usually the case, however it varies by each state. And while it sounds straightforward, it can quickly get complicated. For instance, if you and your spouse pass away in a tragic accident and you have children, chances are they will get your assets, but if you have not determined a guardian, the state will decide that for you. There are many scenarios that complicate the notion of everything simply going to your next of kin.
- My family already knows how I want my assets divided so I don’t need a will. This could be true, but often after death, a family in grief may not remember who was supposed to get what or how much or may have different recollections about who was supposed to get which item. It can be a loving gift to leave behind a clear will delineating how assets will be divided to avoid messy confrontations after you are gone.
If you have questions about estate planning or think you might need to draft a will, consider setting up a consultation with an estate lawyer. An estate lawyer will be able to clear up any estate planning myths you may have heard.