Common Estate Planning Misconceptions


Like many areas of law, estate planning is rife with confusion. And it is often misunderstanding that leads to costly mistakes — mistakes that can produce negative effects now or in the future. However, misconceptions regarding trusts, wills and probate are easily avoidable. Retain the services of an experienced estate planning attorney to keep from falling prey to the following myths:

  • I’m too young to create as estate plan — Planning for what happens to your estate after you are gone may not be something you’re in a hurry to do. But life is unpredictable and it is never too early to have an estate plan.
  • The state will take my assets if I die without a will — This widespread misconception is false. If you die without a will, the state divides the estate based on its laws of intestacy.
  • Probate can be avoided with a will — Unfortunately, you cannot avoid the probate process simply by having a will. What a will does is provide the court with specific instructions on how your estate should be divided. However, the probate process must still take place. If you would like to avoid probate, speak to an attorney about setting up a living trust.
  • An estate plan isn’t necessary because your family is close — You may assume your family will do the right thing after you are gone. Don’t. An estate plan provides directions on how your estate should be divided. Without such instructions, confusion and disagreement may ensue.

An estate plan is meant to provide you with peace of mind. However, if you have inaccurate information from the start, your plan may be flawed.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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