Estate planning is a necessary process that everyone should go through in their lifetime. Proper estate planning can ensure that your loved ones receive the assets they need to move forward after your passing. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding estate planning that keep people from ever making an estate plan. These myths may be why nearly half of all Americans do not have any estate plan, so let’s debunk them here:
You need to be rich to benefit from an estate plan
When people think of wills and trusts, many imagine someone inheriting millions of dollars from a long-lost uncle. The truth is that no matter your income level, you can benefit from estate planning. Proper planning covers all assets you may have, from your home to your decorative spoon collection, and you can account for anything in your estate plan.
I only need to deal with my estate plan once
Life continually changes in ways that many of us do not expect. When major life events like marriage, divorce, childbirth, and adoption, or significant income changes occur, the estate plan needs to also adapt to these changes. Without regular updates to your will and trusts, an ex-spouse may receive an inheritance instead of your current spouse, or your youngest child may not receive anything while their siblings do. It is best to check on your estate plans every few years to make sure your previous wishes match your current ones.
You only need an estate plan to pass on your possessions
Estate plans do establish beneficiaries to your estate, but they can directly benefit you as well. You can develop a healthcare directive that specifies your medical wishes. This document can specify your requests if you are not physically or mentally capable of expressing them. You can spare your loved ones the burden of deciding when you want to be taken off life support, or even whether or not you consent to certain painkiller medicines.
Where you can learn more
There is a lot to know about estate planning, and it can be hard to know where to turn for reliable information. If you are looking to create your estate plan, consult with an experienced estate plan attorney or one of their seminars for more information.