As with any area of the law, estate planning is the source of several myths and misbeliefs. The unfortunate reality is that these misbeliefs often prevent people from completing an effective estate plan in the first place. Please know, however, that everyone should have a plan in place to protect their wishes, assets, and family. Please contact a skilled estate planning lawyer now if you don’t have an estate plan or need to review your existing plan.
1.You Don’t Have an “Estate”
Many people, especially those in the early stages of their careers, don’t believe that they have an estate that deserves protection. But keep in mind that an “estate” includes such things as your:
- Checking and savings account,
- Personal possessions,
- Retirement account, and
While you might not have all of the above, the strong odds are that you have some. This means you do have an estate and you should have a plan in place for what happens to these items if you pass.
2.You Don’t Need to Name Guardians for Your Children
If you pass without making a plan for your child, a judge will typically determine who becomes the guardian for your child. A judge will usually make a guardian determination by considering what’s in the best interests of your child. The problem here is that the judge may chose a person who you never wanted to take care of your loved one. You ensure exactly who you want to take care of your child by creating an estate plan with a clearly named guardian.
3.You Don’t Have Enough Money to Warrant an Estate Plan
A common myth involving estate plans is that people only need one if they are rich. Of course, an estate plan helps distribute your assets upon your passing, and you can create a plan that protects your money while minimizing certain tax implications. But keep in mind that an estate plan accomplishes so many other objectives, like:
- Naming who will make your financial decisions if you become incapacitated,
- Setting forth your desires in terms of receiving life support or certain critical medical care,
- Protecting your children and heirs, and
- Distributing personal possessions.
4.You Don’t Need an Attorney
There are currently several services and businesses available that offer fill in the blank type estate planning forms and documents. You can use these forms to complete most items that are found in a common estate plan.
However, keep in mind that an estate plan is going to be unique to your specific wishes and assets. Odds are that a generic form simply will not work to adequately address your specific needs and wants.
For an effective estate plan that captures all your wishes, you should seek the help of a skilled estate planning attorney.
Contact The McWilliams Law Group for Help
The established California and Washington estate planning attorneys at the McWilliams Law Group help you prepare for the future today. We provide legal assistance with the following:
- Will drafting, execution and review
- Living trusts
- Advance healthcare directives (living wills)
- Powers of attorney
- Estate and gift tax issues
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Choosing the appropriate executor and/or trustee
The skilled attorneys at our firm can help thoroughly analyze your estate and strategize the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, establishing guardianship, and supporting philanthropic causes. Contact us now and let us help protect your personal security, family, and legacy.