Planning your estate does not have to be a difficult process, but it can be a learning experience for those who have not gone through the process before. There is no shortage of bad advice and misinformation floating about. This can cause some people to be confused about what estate planning actually is, the benefits and drawbacks of estate planning, and what an estate plan ought to look like for their situation. Some of the most commonly-encountered myths include:
I need a trust … don’t I?
There was a time when it seemed like every estate planning law firm, financial adviser, and everyone else with a platform recommended that everyone set up a trust as part of their estate plan. This is no longer sound advice (if it ever was). There are individuals whose estate planning goals are best served through a trust, but a trust is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. There may be other easier, more cost-effective ways to achieve your estate-planning goals, though.
I don’t own many possessions, so an estate plan cannot benefit me.
Estate planning is more than just deciding how your assets and possessions are divided. A comprehensive estate plan will also address your long-term care needs, what type of medical treatment you would like to receive if you become mortally or critically wounded or ill, and who you would like to handle your finances if you cannot care for yourself. If you have minor children, your estate plan can also specify who you would like to step in and care for your children if you are too ill or injured to do so or if you die before they reach 18 years of age.
I created an estate plan years ago, so I’m all set.
Have you acquired new, valuable possessions (like a new home or land)? Have you married or remarried? Have you had children or are you planning to adopt? These and other life events can trigger the need to revisit your estate plan and made corrections or updates. Planning documents like wills do not automatically update when you adopt a child, nor does a power of attorney change simply because you and the person you originally designated had a falling out.
Creating an estate plan means my estate won’t pass through probate.
Not true. An estate plan may help most of your estate pass outside of the probate process (if that is an important objective for you), but there may be some part of your estate that must still pass through probate. Your estate planning lawyer can help identify those parts of your estate that might still be subject to the probate process.
I’m in the prime of my life … I will make an estate plan when I’m closer to retirement.
Those in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s and 60s may think of themselves as “too young” to contemplate death and how they want their personal and financial matters to be handled. The sad truth is, though, that a tragic illness or sudden, catastrophic accident can happen to anyone with no advance notification. It is (obviously) too late after such an event happens to create a power of attorney or to set up a trust.
Dawes Legal, LLC wants to make the estate planning process easy and accessible for all people in the Columbus area. No matter the amount of possessions you have or the size of your family, an estate plan may be able to provide you with peace and certainty in the event something tragic occurs. Dial (614) 733-9999 to talk with us about estate planning and how it may benefit you and your loved ones.