Estate planning is the anticipatory process of how your estate is handled after you pass away. A typical estate plan details who will inherit from your assets, a designated executor of your estate to oversee your estate is distributed, a designated power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf and your funeral arrangements.
Unfortunately, many people pass away without an estate plan and many more people don’t intend to ever make an estate plan. This often happens because people are misinformed about estate planning. Here are several myths about estate planning you or a loved one may believe:
Myth #1: You don’t need a will
Truth: While that’s not entirely inaccurate, there are many problems with not making an estate plan. For starters, the state will decide how your estate is distributed if you don’t have a will, meaning your heirs may not inherit some assets. This can lead to disputes and cause your family and loved ones to fight over your assets.
Myth #2: You only need an estate plan if you’re older
Truth: Many people do and should make an estate plan while they’re young. As stated above, one aspect of an estate plan is the power of attorney – a representative who makes medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated. Likewise, while many people plan for a long life, accidents and medical problems do happen and many young people die without an estate plan.
Myth #3: You only get to make one estate plan
Truth: You can update your estate plan as many times as you wish. Many people alter their original plans yearly, especially after marriage, divorce or childbirth.
Myth #4: It’s better to write your own will
Truth: Estate plans are legally complex. Because of this, one minor mistake from a handmade will can cause large problems for beneficiaries. As such, you may need to consider reaching out for legal help when making an estate plan.