Debunking common myths about estate planning

If you currently view estate planning as a legal burden for the elderly, it’s time for a change of perspective. Think of it instead as a gift of love to your family. Estate planning is the way to ensure that your wishes prevail with regards to your health choices and assets when you are no longer able to make your voice heard.

Many myths and misunderstandings cloud the facts of estate planning.

Here’s clarification on 6 myths:

  • A will is all I need. A will is an excellent way to distribute your assets, but it also has limitations that you may not have considered. You may use a will to distribute your belongings and property. However, any property or accounts that you jointly own cannot go in a will.
  • My assets are all I need to worry about. While distributing your assets and choosing your beneficiaries are an important part of your estate plan, there are other important facets as well. One thing to consider is your wishes with regards to your health in the future. You may decide to create a living will or select a durable power of attorney for health care who will make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated in the future.
  • I’ll make a better will when I’m older. No one likes to think about it, but life is unpredictable. Estate planning may seem like a “someday” task, but it’s better to do it when it seems “too early” than for it be too late to help to your family due to a sudden accident or illness.
  • If I make a will too early, I can’t change it. This is incorrect. In fact, there is no such thing as too early for an estate plan. You can and should update your estate plan after major life events, like a change in marital status, the birth of a child or the death of an original beneficiary. At the very least, consider reviewing your plan every three to five years.
  • It’s too complicated to set up an estate plan. Keep in mind that you won’t be doing this alone. An experienced attorney will be there with you to help you and to answer questions. The more well-organized your finances are right now, the easier it will be to set up an estate plan.
  • Estate planning is for the rich. Everyone needs an estate plan. It’s not about how many assets you have—it’s about creating an easier transition for those you leave behind. In your family’s time of grief, you want to make money the last thing they have to worry about. That’s why you need an estate plan.

Estate planning is not just for the old, and it’s not only for the rich. It’s for everyone with a legacy to leave behind.