5 Myths about Estate Planning Dispelled
December 31, 2015
Being misled by the myths of estate planning can prevent people from taking the right steps now to protect their loved ones, their estate and their legacy in the future.
To help you avoid these missteps, below are the facts behind some common myths about estate planning.
I don’t need to think about estate planning until later in life – This is a risky way to think about estate planning because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Regardless of the size of your estate and/or your age, it’s generally advisable to put an estate plan in place sooner, rather than later, in order to ensure that your wishes for the future are formally documented and that your loved ones aren’t faced with additional stress and expenses later if something happens to you and there is no estate plan in place.
My estate plan only really needs to include a will – Not if you want to have a more comprehensive estate plan in place. In fact, while a will can be a good start for an estate plan, it may need to be backed up by trust documents, powers of attorney and/or other estate planning elements to make sure contingency situations have been planned for. If you only rely on a will to support your estate plan, your loved ones may run into issues later if, for instance, you end up being incapacitated (and you haven’t let behind any powers of attorney or directives regarding your wishes).
If I have a will, my loved ones won’t have to deal with probate – This is also not true. A will alone does not necessarily preclude probate, especially if trusts or other plans have not been made for transferring assets to beneficiaries outside of probate.
Once I have developed an estate plan, I’m done with the process – This can be a damaging myth about estate planning because it can lead to “setting and forgetting,” the act of shelving an estate plan for years or longer. When this happens, it’s far more likely that the estate plan won’t offer the protections intended and/or that it will no longer reflect the wishes of the grantor. To avoid this issue, it’s generally advised that people revisit and revise (as necessary) their estate plans every one to two years or whenever a major life change occurs.
I don’t need an attorney to help me with estate planning – Well, you don’t need a lawyer if you don’t care about putting a comprehensive estate plan in place, minimizing your loved one’s future tax liabilities, etc. If, however, you want to ensure that your plans for the future are properly documented, retaining a lawyer to help you devise an estate plan is critical.
When you need experienced help developing or revising an estate plan, a trusted Santa Clarita estate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman is here for you, ready to help. Contact our firm by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and the greater Los Angeles area.