An Attorney Breaks Down The Top 10 Legal Myths About Estate Planning
Estate planning involves clear-cut concepts such as wills and trusts. You probably know that a last will and testament is a legal document that communicates your final wishes. You’re likely familiar with trusts, which are financial entities created to hold and manage your money.
Many people, however, get lost in the details of estate planning. They might not know what is entailed in the actual planning process. Estate planning myths create mystery and confusion. These myths could lead to poor planning or a decision not to create an estate plan. Below is a summary of the top 10 legal myths.
Myth 1: My children know my final wishes, so I don’t need to put them in writing.
Some states allow “oral wills,” but you must have a written document in Arizona.
Myth 2: I have a will, which means I can avoid going through probate
Your will must be submitted in a probate court after you die. This is how the state determines if your will is legally valid.
Myth 3: My estate is small, so there’s no need for planning
Everyone can benefit from having an estate plan, even if you have few possessions. Having a plan keeps you in control of how your assets are distributed.
Myth 4: I’m married, so my spouse will inherit all my possessions
Don’t assume your assets will easily be transferred to your spouse without a will. You may run into legal complexities as well as tax losses.
Myth 5: Estate planning is only about my property and belongings
Estate plans can help with decisions about your children, such as who will care for them after your death. You also might want to create a “living will,” which includes your wishes for medical treatment.
Myth 6: I created a will, so I don’t need to do any more estate planning
You’ve made a wise decision by creating a will, but you may need to update the document every couple of years so it reflects changes in your life.
Myth 7: I’m young and healthy, so I don’t need to create a will
Nearly everyone can benefit from having a will. You could become incapacitated at a young age due to an accident.
Myth 8: I need to distribute my estate equally to my children
In some cases, you may need to distribute your assets unequally. A child with special needs may need more support. You may want to restrict access of your assets to a child who has a history of financial irresponsibility.
Myth 9: Estate planning is too expensive and time consuming
While there are fees associated with estate planning, and you will need to commit some time, you can create a plan without breaking the bank. When you contact our estate planning firm, we are happy to answer questions about costs and the time commitment needed.
Myth 10: I can create a will without help from an attorney
A do-it-yourself approach to estate planning can turn into a nightmare scenario for your loved ones after you die. By working with an experienced attorney, you can rest easy knowing you have a comprehensive and thoughtful estate plan in place.
How to contact an estate planning attorney
The list above highlights some of the top myths. You might have heard others that have prevented you from taking action. Don’t let the myths stop you from creating an estate plan that works for you and your loved ones. Contact the law firm of Brown & Jensen in Mesa, Arizona for a free consultation.