US News and World Reports wrote an excellent blog post detailing the six most common estate planning myths people face when dealing with estate planning. I thought I would share the list with you because it is a great reference:
- A will can oversee the distribution of all my assets. FALSE
A will is perfect for making sure property in your name alone is distributed properly, such as a house, jewelry, cars etc. However, if you have joint accounts, or accounts with beneficiaries on them, the will won’t have any controlling power over those accounts.
- Once I have my assets in order, I’m set. FALSE
There are other important documents recommended to help manage your estate, specifically your personal and financial health and well-being. A Living Will describes the type of medical care you’d want under certain circumstances, especially if you have been incapacitated. Health Care Durable Power of Attorney lets you choose an agent to act on behalf of you, which a Financial Power of Attorney does the same for financial matters. All are very important.
- I can get around to drawing up a will better when I’m older. FALSE
To be frank, none of us know when it is our time. Being prepared is important because it: makes your wishes known, protects children and pets if you have them, distributes assets and property, and makes an already “confusing and emotional time” much less stressful.
- If I make an estate plan, I won’t be able to change it. FALSE
While setting up a plan is a solid first step, keep in mind your salary and family situation can fluctuate over time. These shifts could impact your estate plan. Once your documents are drawn up, be sure to review them every three years or anytime there is a major life event: birth, marriage, etc.
- It’s too complicated to set up. FALSE
There is a reason why most people would rather have a root canal than wade into what seems like a very complicated, emotional process. However, a great estate planning attorney’s leadership will simplify the process greatly. Many estate plans can be established in just two meetings; however, you’ll want to meet periodically, as mentioned above.
- Estate planning is most important for the superrich. FALSE
We have found repeatedly that people really don’t know their own net worth and have more assets than they think. Your estate includes home, everything in it, cars, rec vehicles, any businesses and their assets, brokerage and retirement accounts and more. In 2018, families with assets greater than $11.18 million “will want to seek help minimizing taxes. For households with assets that are less than that figure, however, setting up guidelines is still helpful for family members.”
As always, if I can be of assistance with your estate planning needs, please get in touch and let’s talk.