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Written by Thomas Upchurch
Sometimes, conventional wisdom can hurt. When it comes to estate planning, some of the things “everybody knows” are wrong—and can put your financial stability and your family’s security at risk. Fortunately, a little education and planning is all it takes to avoid the pitfalls associated with the most common estate planning myths.
When you’re young and healthy and expect to live a long, healthy life, it’s easy to assume that you have plenty of time to think about estate planning when you’re older. But estate planning isn’t just about arranging to pass on your assets after death. A comprehensive estate plan will include a wide range of provisions, including:
Many people neglect estate planning because they have few assets. While a small estate may not require as much planning and organization as a larger and more complicated one, many people have assets they overlook. Some of the reasons even those with few assets should attend to estate planning include:
Many people assume that their closest relatives—the people they’d name if they created a will—will automatically inherit if they die without creating a will or living trust. While that is true in a general sense, it doesn’t always play out the way people anticipate or intend. One common complication arises when a married person has a child from a prior marriage; in that case, the surviving spouse may inherit only half of the estate. And, if the child is a minor and no arrangements have been made, his or her inheritance will typically be managed by the former spouse.
Most American adults don’t have a will at all, so it’s easy to assume that downloading a form and filling it out is better than doing nothing. In some cases, that’s even true, but it’s not a safe assumption. Estate planning involves much more than writing a will, and one of the advantages of working with an experienced estate planning lawyer is that he or she can help you assess all aspects of your succession and asset protection planning.
When your estate planning is limited to filling out forms:
If you’re uncertain about how best to ensure that your loved ones are protected if you should pass away or become incapacitated, take advantage of the knowledge of an experienced estate planner.
Schedule a consultation with an experienced estate litigator right now, or call us directly at (386) 320-6169.