The unfortunate reality is that there are a lot of estate planning myths out there, and people may accidentally fall for them without even realizing what they are. For instance, maybe you wanted to do your estate planning and you asked a friend for help getting started. Is the advice they gave you accurate or are they just repeating some of the most common myths?
For instance, maybe they told you that estate planning is just financial. It’s easy, they said, because all you need to do is list out what you own and decide who gets what. They made the whole process sound simple and straightforward, dealing strictly with assets and debts.
This is a myth not because estate planning isn’t financial — it is — but because that’s definitely not all that it is. You can start with your assets and your debts, and that’s where many people go first, but you definitely need to consider many other steps as well. These may include things like:
- Setting up a medical power of attorney so that someone else can make medical decisions for you.
- Thinking about your potential long-term care needs as you grow older.
- Setting up a legal power of attorney in case you can’t take care of your affairs yourself.
- Deciding how you want your estate plan to address your values and beliefs, and how you can work to pass those values and beliefs to the next generation.
Again, that doesn’t mean you won’t have financial considerations, but, if they’re all you’re thinking about, you could be skipping some important steps. Make sure you take the time to do complete estate planning.