Transparent, Expedient And Cost Effective

Dispelling Some Common Myths About Estate Planning

No one likes to think about estate planning until it is time for them to start it themselves. As a result, many myths surround estate plans, wills, probate and related subjects. At The Wills & Trusts Firm, LLP, our New York estate planning lawyers have taken the time to respond to some popular myths about estate planning – and replace them with facts.

Myth: Estate planning is a one-time event.

On the contrary, you should update your existing estate plan throughout your life. Life circumstances can change substantially from one year to the next. Whether you get married, get divorced, add members to your family or acquire new assets, your estate plan should reflect this.

Myth: I’m too young to create an estate plan.

It is never too early for estate planning. Every adult should have a last will and testament and other basic documents such as an advance care directive. The unpredictable nature of life means that you might not have as much time on earth to create an estate plan as you think.

Myth: Estate planning is only for the wealthy.

Everyone has an estate, no matter how much it is worth. Therefore, everyone needs an estate plan. If you have a family, your estate plan can pass your assets on to them and spare them an expensive, stressful probate process. That is why we offer high-quality estate planning services in affordable, flat-rate packages.

Myth: A will is all I need for estate planning.

Yes, a last will and testament is one of the most important documents in any estate plan. However, what happens if you lose your capacity to make decisions for yourself? A will does not grant someone the power to make those decisions for you – but a power of attorney can. Your estate plan should include a range of documents and possibly trusts to encompass all possibilities that could unfold.

Myth: Estate planning is just about distributing my assets after I die.

While a large part of your estate plan can focus on distributing assets to beneficiaries, it is not the only focus. An estate plan can also help you:

  • Make guardianship designations for your minor dependents
  • Put health care directives in place and designate a medical power of attorney
  • Designate a financial power of attorney to handle your affairs if you’re incapacitated
  • Protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits and other financial risks
  • Engage in special needs planning for a disabled dependent
  • Avoid probate or minimize the process so that it takes less time and money
  • Engage in business succession planning for the sake of continuity
  • Express your funeral and burial instructions and preserve family harmony

By working with The Wills & Trusts Firm, LLP, you can learn more about estate planning options that can benefit you while you are alive.

Myth: If I die without a will, my assets will go to the state.

If you do not make a will, you will die intestate. Intestate does not mean that assets go to the state. Instead, the state becomes responsible for naming an executor and distributing your assets to heirs. An heir is typically your closest relative. The order of heirs often begins with a spouse and continues to children, siblings, parents, grandparents and extended family until the closest relative is discovered. Without a will, you can not control how your assets are distributed. So, if you wish to give assets to a loved one, then you can help ensure that happens by making a will.

Myth: Estate planning and trusts help avoid estate tax.

Having an estate plan and a trust does not guarantee that there will be no estate taxes when you die. Tax mitigation planning is part of the overall strategy of an effective estate plan. Our New York estate planning lawyers can devise a plan to reduce your taxable estate and minimize the taxable value of your property.

Get More Information From A New York Estate Planning Lawyer

These are just a few misconceptions that we often hear about estate planning. Learn more about the process by calling our Manhattan office at 347-201-3850 or by using our online contact form to schedule a consultation.