Estate planning is one of the most important things a person can do to protect their property and loved ones and prepare for the future. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of misinformation surrounding estate planning. Many of those misconceptions hold people back from taking control of their future.
If you are considering creating an estate plan, you need to be able to separate facts from fiction. You should consult with an estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process and help you navigate the laws regarding estate planning in your state.
David Bale, the founder of The Law Office of David G. Bale in Westerville, Ohio, can educate you on the available estate planning tools that you can use to protect your legacy and family.
Estate Planning Misconceptions
Many people have incorrect beliefs about estate planning. Some of the misconceptions and myths about estate planning are passed down from generation to generation. Being misinformed about your options for protecting your property and loved ones can yield negative consequences in the long run. Below are some of the most common misconceptions about estate planning that should be dispelled once and for all.
- “I am not wealthy enough to think about estate planning.” Many people think they should not bother with estate planning because they mistakenly believe that only wealthy individuals can benefit from creating an estate plan. However, you do not necessarily need to wait until you accumulate a certain amount of wealth to benefit from estate planning.
- “I am too young for estate planning.” There is no such thing as being “too young” for estate planning unless you are under the age of 18. This myth stems from the obsolete myth that only older individuals should have an estate plan. In reality, people should consider creating an estate plan no matter how young (or old) they are. Besides, estate planning is much more than just distributing your property to your loved ones.
- “I can use an online tool to create an estate plan.” Using online estate planning tools is not nearly as effective as seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney. Online tools provide one-size-fits-all solutions that may not benefit everyone. In most cases, creating an enforceable and effective estate plan requires the expertise of an attorney to ensure that you are drafting a plan that meets your specific needs and requirements under the law.
- “If I die without a will, my family will decide how to distribute my assets themselves.” That is not true. When an individual dies intestate, which is a legal term for saying “to die without a will,” their property will be distributed according to their respective state’s intestate succession laws, which specify the order in which heirs should inherit from a decedent’s estate.
- “My estate will not go through probate if I write a will.” False. There is a widespread misconception that wills help avoid probate. While creating a valid will can help reduce the cost and duration of the probate process, it does not mean that wills do not have to go through probate at all. In fact, the primary goal of probate is to authenticate the validity of the will before distributing the decedent’s assets to the intended beneficiaries.
- “Estate planning is only to designate who will inherit my property when I die.” No, estate planning is much more than just establishing who gets what after your passing. Estate planning allows individuals to ensure that someone they trust will manage their assets, finances, and businesses and make medical decisions on their behalf in the event of their incapacity. An estate plan also allows you to choose a guardian who will care for your minor children. These are not the only things that can be accomplished with a comprehensive estate plan.
- “All I need in my estate plan is the last will and testament.” While it is true that a will is one of the most integral documents in an estate plan, a solid plan should include other documents as well. An experienced estate planning attorney can review your particular situation and help you understand the available tools to meet your long-term goals and satisfy your specific needs.
- “I already have an estate plan, so I have nothing to worry about.” Estate planning is not a one-time event. Major changes in life, including additions to the family, deaths, marriages, divorces, and others, may require you to update your estate plan. The general recommendation is to review and update estate planning documents every three to five years to ensure that they reflect your current wishes and needs.
Contact The Law Office of
David G. Bale for Legal Guidance
Creating an estate plan may seem like a complicated and overwhelming undertaking, which is why many people choose to delay and neglect it. Others, meanwhile, may not think estate planning is necessary because they have incorrect beliefs about creating an estate plan.
Consider seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney at The Law Office of David G. Bale to help you separate fact from fiction and understand how you can benefit from estate planning. With an office in Westerville, Ohio, David Bale also provides estate planning services to people throughout Delaware and Franklin counties. Contact him for help in understanding what is involved in estate planning.