Estate planning is one of the least understood areas of law. One of the commonly overlooked parts of estate planning is the number of people who have the potential to benefit from proper estate planning. The great value of estate planning is not that lets people define their legacies, it also lets people decide the impact that their wishes have on the people they love.
Estate planning also enables people to provide important instructions about health care decisions as well as who will be responsible for making these decisions. In an effort to further explain the truth behind some of the longest lasting and most widely shared estate planning myths, this article explains some of the important details that you should understand about this process.
# 1 – Estate Planning is Only for the Extremely Wealthy
Many people believe that the estate planning process only benefits the wealthy, but in reality this is far from the truth. If a person owns property or has loved ones that depend on them to provide care, it is critical to create an estate plan.
No matter if you have a small bank account or few valuables, it is important to understand that you are still viewed as having an estate.
# 2 – The Only Purpose of Estate Planning is to Distribute Assets after Death
There are a number of issues involved with estate planning besides the distribution of assets. While the way in which your estate will be distributed following your death is important, there are also a number of other important issues involved with estate planning including planning for incapacity.
By providing instructions about who should make healthcare and financial decisions in case something happens to you, it is possible to reduce the number of obstacles that arise in the future.
# 3 – Wills Control the Distribution of All Assets
Wills are a type of estate planning document that state how property will be distributed following your death. These documents allow a person to name an executor with overseeing the distribution of property.
Some assets, however, exist outside of the control of a will including insurance policies and retirement accounts. This is why it is critical to review your beneficiary designations whenever changes in your life occur.
There are some cases where because a person failed to adequately update beneficiary designations, a former spouse ended up receiving everything after the person’s death.
Instead of relying solely on a will, it is a wise idea to also make sure your estate planning documents include powers of attorney and living wills. In some cases, people also find it helpful to create trust documents.
# 4 – Once an Estate Plan Is Created, There Is No Need to Revise It
Estate planning is simply not a once and done process. Not only do a person’s preferences change over time, there are also a number of factors including births, deaths, and financial events that can alter estate planning documents.
Your estate planning documents should reflect all of these important changes, which is why it is critical to periodically review estate planning documents and to make any changes if necessary.
Speak with an Estate Planning Lawyer Today
If you need assistance with estate planning, do not hesitate to Ettinger Estate Planning today to schedule a free initial consultation.