Have you heard that gum takes 7 years to digest if you swallow it? That it’s not safe to swim right after you eat? Maybe you believe that if you go outside in the cold with wet hair, you yourself will catch a cold.
Did you know that all three of these things have one thing in common? They’re not true – but you probably thought they were! That’s because they’re all popular myths that you probably grew up being warned about. Similarly, estate planning, the process of getting your affairs legally in order, tends to have its own share of myths and misconceptions that lead people to remain comfortable letting their hard-earned money and valuable possessions go unprotected.
In this blog we’ll debunk 6 myths about estate planning so that you be better informed and inspired to act in a way that safeguards your interests, your assets, and your family.
Myth 1: “I’m Too Young For Estate Planning”
Perhaps the most common myth about estate planning is that it is only for the elderly. But estate planning is incredibly important for even the youngest of families. Why? Because if you don’t make hard decisions now, they’ll be made for you by the state of California, even when it comes to your children.
Estate planning encompasses more than just shielding your assets; it protects your children, too. In your will, you can designate guardians for your minor children in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away. While it might be difficult to think about not being a part of your children’s future, wouldn’t you rather be the one to decide who’ll raise them if you can’t?
Myth 2: “Estate Planning Is Something I Have Time To Take Care Of”
So many people fail to plan accordingly for their estate because they’re convinced they’ll have time to create one later down the road. While everyone hopes to live a long and happy life, there are unforeseen circumstances that can arise at any time, like health issues, freak accidents, and other factors that are completely out of our control. If we rely on the fact that “we have time,” that time might slip away from us at any moment, leaving assets unprotected and family unsure of what you wanted.
Remember, tomorrow isn’t promised, so it’s better to prepare today.
Myth 3: “Estate Planning Is For The Rich”
Another myth that keeps many from estate planning is that it’s only for a wealthy demographic of people. This isn’t true either! Estate planning is for anyone who owns something of value (or has minor children i.e. Myth 2). You don’t have to be sitting on millions to create an estate plan, because estate planning extends well-beyond your finances.
Whether you own property, have a savings account, or have a sentimental keepsake you want to leave behind for your family, creating an estate plan can help ensure that these things are shielded from threats like probate, bankruptcy, lawsuits, and more.
Myth 4: “Once I Have An Estate Plan, I’m Good To Go For The Rest Of My Life”
For those who have created an estate plan, it’s important to remember that you can’t stop there. Even after you’ve created a will and trust, there are several circumstances and situations in your life that will necessitate the updating of these legal documents every few years. Below are a few of the instances in which readdressing your estate plan will be necessary:
- If you get married or divorced
- If you change your name
- If a child or grandchild is born that you wish to add to your estate plan
- If a beneficiary dies
- If you no longer have a relationship with a beneficiary
- If you move to another state
- If an executor or trustee you named is no longer fit for the role
- If your assets change (growing or depleting)
- If you’ve experienced a significant shift in your health and wish to make changes to your health care directives
- And more.
Myth 5: “I Have A Will, I Don’t Need Anything Else”
You might be thinking, “I have a will, I’ve already created an estate plan.” Right?
While creating a will is a step in the right direction, it is not an estate plan. The role of a will is to outline your wishes for your assets after you die, name an executor, name a guardian for children and decide how your debts and taxes will be paid. A will is not for:
- Avoiding probate
- Avoiding taxes
- Making funeral plans
- Providing for children with specials needs
- Transferring certain types of property (like joint property)
- And more.
If you want to make these things happen, you can, but only by creating a complete estate plan using different kinds of trusts and other legal tools.
Myth 6: “Estate Planning Is Complicated & Time Consuming”
While it’s true that estate planning can sometimes be lengthy and complex, working with an estate planning attorney can simplify the process, saving you time and energy. Having professional assistance is especially important to ensure that your documents are legitimate and legally compliant.
Embrace Peace Of Mind & Secure Your Legacy With An Estate Plan
If you’ve fallen victim to these myths up until this point, it’s time to make a change. Creating a comprehensive estate plan can not only offer a layer of protection to your hard-earned assets, but it can offer other benefits like peace of mind for you and your family, insurance that your wishes will be respected, and more. Our hope in debunking these myths is that we’ll encourage you to take a proactive approach to estate planning sooner rather than later.
How Equal Justice Law Group Can Help
If you’ve yet to create an estate plan, there is no time like the present. Our estate planning lawyers at Equal Justice Law Group have years of experience with California’s estate planning laws, so we know what it takes to craft a thorough, effective estate plan. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discover your legal options and next steps.