Many people avoid thinking about the topic of estate planning, because they don’t like the thought that they will be gone one day. But ignoring the facts just fuels the existence of myths like these that are far from the truth. The sooner you get your estate in order the better, and it is best to start with accurate information. Here are some common misconceptions about the estate planning process and the realities behind them.
Estate Planning is Only for the Wealthy
This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to estate planning. While many people think they do not have enough money to warrant an estate plan, the truth is that your estate is made up of any assets you own, such as checking or savings accounts, investments, cars, homes, furniture, clothing, jewelry or retirement accounts. An estate plan can help ensure these assets are protected should you become disabled or pass away.
My Family Will Distribute My Assets Fairly Without My Direction
No they won’t. Logic and reasoning tend to be forgotten when money is involved, and even the closest of families can become fractured when left to divide an estate. It is truly in the best interest of all parties if you have a detailed plan, in writing and legally executed, before it is ever needed. A proper estate plan can also help your family avoid the probate process, which will save them time, money and grief.
I Can’t Control What Happens to my Assets Once They are Distributed
If you are concerned that your inheritance will be mismanaged or quickly squandered away, there actually are ways to avoid that, but only if you prepare a good estate plan first. A customized plan, based on your knowledge of your beneficiaries, can distribute an inheritance over time, or through the supervision of a responsible manager.
All I Need is a Will and I Can Prepare That on my Own
You may think that downloading and completing a simple will is all you need to allocate your assets to loved ones. While that is partially true, there may be problems that can arise with that plan. A will is a very important component of your estate plan but if it is prepared incorrectly, it might not be legally valid. When there are complex assets or if minor children are involved, it is probably best to have a qualified attorney prepare the document to avoid any legal issues.
It is also a good idea to speak to your attorney to find out all of the tools available for estate planning needs. Wills, trusts and guardianship designations can make your intentions known to your loved ones when you pass, while a living will and power of attorney can help protect you while you are alive but incapacitated.
Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton have a vast amount of experience in estate planning and our attorneys can help counsel you through the estate planning process. We will listen carefully and develop a plan based on your specific needs in order to best protect you and your family, now and in the future. Contact us at 847-223-1500 or visit https://live-cqrh-new.pantheonsite.io/practice-areas/estate-planning-administration/ for more information.
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