You have the opportunity to care for yourself and look after your family through estate planning. A proper estate plan allows you to make informed decisions about your financial goals.
Familiarizing yourself with estate planning myths can help you avoid mistakes.
1. My family will automatically honor my wishes.
Since your family may react to your death in a multitude of ways, you cannot always predict how your relatives handle your estate. Through a good estate plan, you can ensure that after your death, your family follows your very clear intentions.
2. Only the wealthy need an estate plan.
Wealth is insignificant for estate planning. Regardless of how many assets you control or how many valuables you have, you can still exercise control over your property and its distribution postmortem.
3. My spouse will already get everything.
An important part of estate planning is thinking about what will happen if you do not draft a will or trust. Although marriage helps with asset distribution in probate court, you cannot control unexpected events. You need estate planning documents to control the division of your estate in situations like your spouse remarrying, choosing to leave some assets to your children or if you and your partner happen to die at the same time.
4. My estate plan is set in stone.
Your estate plan is ever-evolving so you should consider updating it following any major life event. For example, a divorce from your spouse, your retirement, a birth of a child or the death of a named beneficiary.
As life happens, you can keep your wishes for your estate updated by changing the appropriate documents to fit your new needs.