Welcome to the Estate Planning Myths Series!
You loved the mini-series on Pandemic Planning (Missed it? Check it out the first post here!), so I’m back with another one.
Here’s the thing: There are a TON of blogs, articles, rumors, and such out there about estate planning. The stuff you’ve heard about estate planning may be spot on, but sometimes…. it’s not. And that’s totally fine! Estate planning is indeed not as straightforward as some other concepts are, so the confusion and misconceptions are not surprising at all.
And that is precisely what I intend to do in this whole new series: talk about some of the most common estate planning myths and explain why they’re exactly that—myths!
To kick-start this series, here is our first estate planning myth:
“I can handle my own estate planning.”
Now, let me start by saying that this is not 100% false. In fact, anyone is free to DIY their estate planning! The thing is, though, what some fail to realize is that DIY-ing your own estate plan has a number of drawbacks especially if armed with insufficient or false (which is worse!) information. This is what makes “I can handle my own estate planning” a somewhat misleading statement.
First, estate planning is not just about making a will. I think most people have this impression, that estate planning is all about just drafting a will, which leads them to believe that it’s as simple as 1 2 3. Nope, estate planning is more than just deciding and putting in black and white who gets what--it’s a lot more than that!
In reality, a last will and testament is actually just one of the many components of a comprehensive estate plan. What are the others, you say? Well, there’s the part on trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, and more, which then leads me to my next point…
Estate planning requires knowledge of the law. In fact, we have a set of laws (which differs in every state!) devoted to estate planning—rules on who to designate as beneficiaries, what to include in trust agreements, how to execute a will acceptable for probate, just to name a few. Needless to say, in order to come up with a fair, error-free, and legally acceptable estate plan, these laws must be taken into account or else, all the time and effort will just be put to waste. And you surely wouldn’t want that!
This now brings me to my last point.
An estate planning lawyer is not an unnecessary expense. One of the reasons why people opt to do things on their own is the hesitance in spending on an estate planning lawyer. “Why don’t I just handle my own estate planning so I can save the funds instead of spending them on a lawyer?” Yup, I’ve heard this too many times I already lost count!
I won’t lie—estate planning lawyers are an investment. But that’s only because they get the job done and get it done well! These experts make sure that your properties are safe, your loved ones are secure, and your wishes are respected, regardless of what the future holds (the bonus of estate planning!). You get all of this, while being assured that each and every step and aspect of the estate planning process is done right and in accordance with law. No stress, no mess for you!
In other words, engaging the services of an estate planning lawyer removes all the risks that a DIY estate plan presents. These risks and possible errors may cost you a lot (could be more than what you would spend for a lawyer even!), and if you think about it, these are the real unnecessary expenses you would want to keep away from in this whole estate planning thing.
There are many more estate planning misconceptions that we have yet to talk about, so stay tuned!
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Talk to you guys again on the next one!