Myths About Estate Planning and the Truth Behind Them

Estate planning should be a priority for all families and individuals. It’s important to have a plan in case the worst happens. After all, we don’t always see the worst coming and can’t predict what the future holds for us.

Having a plan can be the difference between our assets ending up in the right hands or our loved ones being left with nothing when the courts get involved in the process. Unfortunately, another roadblock in estate planning is all the misinformation either on the internet or shared by word of mouth. We want to debunk some of those myths today and give you the facts about planning your estate.

Myth: I’m too young to worry about estate planning

One of the most common misconceptions claims that estate planning is only for the elderly. The idea is that if you’re young you don’t really have to think about what happens after you’re gone yet.

The Truth: Estate planning is for all adults of any age. We believe the earlier you plan your estate the better. An estate plan isn’t just a document you put in place and then have take effect when you die. An estate plan is a living document you put in place and adjust as time dictates.

The pandemic really hammered this point home. More young people are dealing with severe illnesses and we’ve lost young loved ones well before their time. Life expectancy in the U.S. actually dipped in 2020, further reinforcing the need for everyone to get in on estate planning.

Myth: I don’t have enough money or assets to have an estate plan

This one goes hand-in-hand with the age misconceptions about estate planning. Some people believe they just don’t have enough in hand to really worry about divvying up assets or money when they die.

The Truth: You should have a plan for your assets, regardless of how much or how little you have. Your estate plan will cover those assets as well as incapacity planning for the event you’re not able to make your own medical decisions.

If you have children, this becomes even more important. You will need to lay out a plan for caring for your minor children when you’re either incapacitated or dead. Don’t get caught up thinking you’re either too young to worry about this or just don’t have enough money or assets to have a plan.

Myth: I told loved ones my wishes so I don’t need an estate plan

Individuals often think that just because they own assets or have money in their own bank account, they can use word of mouth to express their wishes. After all, if my situation is simple and straightforward shouldn’t you be able to just tell your loved ones who is getting what when you’re gone?

The Truth: If you die without an estate plan in place, the government is going to get involved to make sure nothing illegal happens in the transitioning of your money and assets. This will involve verifying what you owned, any debts you have, and that the transfer of everything follows the letter of the law.

Your loved ones may ultimately be able to receive the assets and funds you intended for them to have, but this incurs some major risk because it can become a he-said, she-said battle for assets and funds everyone wants to get their hands on. This will become more of a “luck of the draw,” however because the courts will apply the laws of “intestacy” which just determines the distribution of assets for those without an estate plan.

Myth: My estate doesn’t need an attorney

So many people try to do their own estate plan and run into a litany of legal and clerical errors that put their plans at risk. There’s plenty of advice on the internet to get your own plan in place, but it’s hard to sift through all the noise to know what’s right and wrong.

The Truth: Okay, this one is the closest to the truth we’ve had yet, but it’s still a major risk. You might not need an attorney depending on the amount of assets and the complexity of your plan, but if you want to make sure your estate plan is bulletproof through the legal process then you should work closely with an estate planning attorney.

At Velazquez Consumer Law, we provide solutions and shield you from surprises! Contact us and make sure your plan doesn’t fall prey to the misinformation of today.

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Velazquez Consumer Law

Central to our firm is the empathetic and compassionate service we give each client that allows us to fully understand your situation and goals. Above all, our responsive and hands-on approach to your legal issues yields actual results.

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