Estate planning can greatly help people control how their assets are dispersed after they pass away. However, many people don’t make estate plans or even consider making a will because it’s commonly believed that estate planning is only for the rich or the elderly.
The truth is that anyone above the legal age can make an estate plan and should consider it. There are many beneficial aspects of estate planning that go beyond naming heirs, such as naming a power of attorney or child guardian. This is just one common misconception about estate planning. Here are a few more myths you should avoid:
Myth: No one should know you have an estate plan
Truth: Many people believe that it’s better to hide their estate planning decisions from family and friends. This is likely because talking about an estate plan could lead to family discord. For example, a family member who believes that they have a right to more assets than being given could create issues for the rest of the family.
However, there’s nothing stopping people from talking about their estate plans. Some people may find it beneficial to inform family members about their estate plans so changes can be made that may better benefit heirs. For instance, if a testator is planning to will their business to their child, their child may inform the testator that they have no interest in carrying the business. The testator can then make adjustments to the estate plan that could benefit everyone.
Myth: It’s better to write your own estate plan
Truth: Many people write their own estate plans. People can also find premade templates for their estate plans. These options may be cheaper than getting legal help — but they’re not better. They can even backfire, leading to complicated litigation that drains the estate, and be worse than having no estate plan at all.
A minor mistake in an estate plan could lead to a lot of issues for beneficiaries. Once a testator passes away, there’s very little the beneficiaries can do to resolve issues. Testators may find that getting legal help can not only help them resolve any issues but also educate about all their options.