When faced with an uncomfortable situation or decision, it is human nature to make excuses or convince ourselves of untruths rather than deal with the inevitable head-on. This is no different when it comes to estate planning.
Estate planning can certainly seem like a daunting and depressing subject as we face our own mortality. However, creating an estate plan does not mean you are going to die now - it just means that you have prepared for the future. A recent article in Forbes debunks four persistent myths of estate planning that are often used as excuses to avoid the planning process altogether. These myths include:
Estate planning is only for the wealthy. False. Anyone who has assets, owns property, or supports loved ones needs an estate plan.
Estate planning only involves asset distribution after death. False. An estate plan can also be used to protect your assets while you are alive, protect assets for your loved ones after your death, designate a guardian for minor children, express your wishes for financial management and medical care in the event of your incapacity, manage tax exposure, and avoid the probate process.
All assets will be distributed through a will. False. Some assets may transfer through other means such as beneficiary, payable-on-death (POD), and transfer-on-death (TOD) designations.
An estate plan does not need to be updated once in place. False. Estate plans should be revisited over time to account for changes in the law and any major life events such as divorce, death of a family member, or acquisition of property.
The truth of the matter is that estate planning really is for everyone. While individual needs may vary depending on life situation and assets owned, an estate plan is an invaluable tool for protecting yourself, your assets, and your loved ones. As with any of life’s challenges, running away from the estate planning process may seem easier now, but it is a race you will never win.