Dispelling Estate Planning Myths
Nov. 8, 2022
In recent years, an ever-increasing number of people have turned to estate planning to protect their legacies and loved ones. However, a large percentage of people still do not understand what estate planning entails and what they need to consider when creating an estate plan.
If you are thinking about creating an estate plan, you need to understand that some (or all) of the things you think you know about estate planning are probably not true. As an estate planning attorney at Adams, Cassese & Papp L.L.C., I can dispel common myths and help you make informed decisions when guiding you through the estate planning process.
With an office in Woodbridge, New Jersey, I proudly serve clients across the state, including those in Edison, Sayreville, and Perth Amboy.
Estate Planning Myths
If you are considering creating an estate plan, you might have preconceived ideas about the process. However, if you truly want to protect your legacy and loved ones, it’s time that you get those estate planning misconceptions out of your head. Common estate planning myths include:
“You do not need to think about estate planning until you retire or are about to retire.” So many people still believe that estate planning is not necessary until retirement. However, you need to understand that life is unpredictable, so certain events – such as an unexpected medical condition – may happen before you retire. Having an estate plan helps you express your wishes while you still can.
“You need a certain level of wealth to necessitate an estate plan.” A common misconception about estate planning is that only wealthy people can benefit from it. The truth is you need an estate plan regardless of the size of your estate. Estate planning is not just about protecting your wealth; it is also about protecting yourself and your loved ones in the event of your incapacity or passing.
“You can use online forms instead of hiring an estate planning attorney.” As more people now have access to the internet, they believe there is nothing the internet cannot do. Those are also the people who believe that using online forms can be just as effective as hiring an attorney to help them with an estate plan. If your goal is to create a well-crafted estate plan tailored to your specific wishes and circumstances, you will need the proper guidance of a skilled attorney.
“Your family will decide who gets what if you pass away without a will.” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. If you die intestate – a term used for people who die without a will – it will be up to the law of your state to determine how your assets will be distributed to your loved ones. Intestate succession laws differ from one state to another. Thus, if you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your assets will be distributed to your loved ones the way you intend.
“Probate will not be necessary if you have a will.” Whether probate is required is not based upon having a will. Whether your estate will go through probate depends on what assets you owned before your death. However, there are other estate planning tools – besides the last will and testament – that could help you avoid probate.
“Your estate plan can only determine how your assets will be distributed after your death.” A comprehensive estate plan can cover a number of things, including but not limited to determining how your assets will be distributed when you are gone. Your estate plan can also name a guardian for your minor children, provide instructions for your medical care, appoint a person who would take care of your financial decisions in the event of your incapacity, and much more.
If you are thinking about creating an estate plan, you need to make sure that you do not have any preconceived (and false) ideas about it. This can be done by seeking guidance from a knowledgeable attorney who can help you navigate estate planning laws in your state.
Estate Planning Guidance You Can Trust
At Adams, Cassese & Papp L.L.C., I have devoted my career – more than 40 years of legal experience – to providing compassionate legal service and outstanding guidance to clients in matters related to estate planning. Contact my office in Woodbridge, New Jersey, to schedule a free consultation and start working on the plan that best suits your particular goals and needs.