When many people think of estate planning, they assume that it is something only the very old or wealthy do. However, everyone, regardless of their health, age or wealth, can benefit from setting aside the time to draft a comprehensive estate plan.
Some of the common misconceptions about estate planning include:
1. Estate planning is only for the wealthy. This myth likely comes from the fact that many financial advisors and attorneys focus on minimizing and avoiding estate taxes (which is only for estates over $5.1 million). However, estate planning is more than this. It also is about ensuring that your assets are distributed in the way you want them to be, ensuring that someone is there to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated, and making certain that someone you approve of will raise your children, if your spouse dies along with you.
2. Estate planning is only for the old. Although it may seem morbid to think about your death at an early age, it is an eventuality that can happen when you least expect it. The news, both past and present, is full of stories about young celebrities that died without an estate plan, leaving their estates in disarray for their loved ones to deal with.
3. I don’t need an attorney. It is true that there are several “do it yourself” resources online. However, without exception, these resources take a “one size fits all” approach to estate planning. Unfortunately, this can leave you unprepared for contingencies that the online resource did not address (or even contemplate). As a result, it is important to involve an attorney in the estate planning process. An attorney can ensure that the documents in your estate plan are tailor made for your needs and every likely problematic scenario is avoided.
These misconceptions are only a few of the many myths floating around out there about estate planning. At The Law Firm of James M. Miskell, our goal is to ensure that you have a complete understanding your estate planning options before you make any decisions. Once educated of your options, we can help you determine which estate planning tools would best accomplish you goals.