Debunking the most common estate planning myths

There are many misconceptions when it comes to estate planning. Some people believe they’re too young to even think about putting a will in place, while others believe they are too old or their assets are too insignificant.

However, estate planning is essential for anyone. Creating a plan is a crucial first step in defining your legacy and protecting the people who depend upon you.

Four estate planning myths

Creating a will or trust is not just about passing along your assets when you die. Here are some common myths:

Estate planning is only for the wealthy: False! Everyone needs an estate plan regardless of age, assets and even home ownership. Estate plans can accomplish the following:

  • Protect dependents who rely on your income
  • Designate guardians for underage children
  • Name the people you want to receive assets after you die
  • Avoid probate
  • Manage tax issues

Estate planning is only about giving away property after death: False! An estate plan protects your assets during your lifetime and after. It also allows you to state your wishes for helping others, such as charitable giving. Most importantly, it defines the type of medical care you want if you become incapacitated by illness or injury.

A will spells out how all my assets are distributed: False! When creating a will, you will name an executor who will oversee the distribution of your assets as dictated by your will throughout the probate process. However, other assets may exist outside of that legal document, such as life insurance, investment and retirement accounts, among others. These specific accounts will go to the people you name as beneficiaries and avoid probate.

Once a plan is in place, there’s no need to revisit it: False! An estate plan must be continuously reviewed throughout your lifetime. Changes may need to be made after a significant life event occurs, such as the birth of a child, a new job, the death of a spouse or close family member or divorce.

Having an estate plan makes sound financial sense

While many people associate estate planning with death, having a will in place gives you peace of mind while you are still around to enjoy the people you love as well as the things you’ve worked hard to achieve. An experienced estate planning attorney here in Pennsylvania can answer all your questions over putting a plan in place to protect you and your family’s future.