A large number of Americans do not have an estate plan. Aside from the challenges of not having an estate plan, Americans are failing to learn even the basic details about how estate plans function. There are many misconceptions about what an estate plan is and how they work. To start, an estate plan is not a one-size-fits-all. When completed properly with an experienced attorney, it is a comprehensive legal plan made for you, your estate, and your loved ones. This article will clarify some of the most important myths about estate plans and how they actually operate.
Myth # 1 – Estate Plans Aren’t Necessary If Your Wishes Are Known
Realistically, even if you explicitly state how you would like your estate to be handled upon your passing, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be achieved. Even if you leave your loved ones with specifics on your preferences, they could still find subtle ways to subvert them for their advantage. The best way to make sure that your wishes are carried out is by working with an estate planning attorney who can make sure that you have legally recognized documents that will uphold your wishes. Drafting a will, power of attorney, and healthcare proxy will ensure that should you ever become incapacitated, you and your assets will be taken care of in a manner that you would like to.
Myth # 2 – Estate Plans Aren’t Necessary If You Do Not Have a Family
If you pass away without a will, it will be up to the probate court to determine who will inherit your assets based on your state laws. This means that a judge, who does not know you, could fail to consider any unique details about your estate when dividing assets. And if you don’t have an immediate family or don’t plan on passing on anything to your immediate family, most people would still want to avoid having their assets divided by the court. The probate process can be time-consuming and expensive with having to appear in court and legal fees which can be paid by the estate. A comprehensive estate plan can expedite or skip the probate process altogether.
Myth # 3 – Once Your Assets Are Distributed, You Can Not Control Them
If you believe that once your loved ones receive your assets, you cannot dictate what they do with them, you are wrong. Let’s say that you are worried that your assets, like property, will not be properly managed, there are legal strategies you can use to avoid these results from happening. To make sure such undesirable results do not occur, you should prepare an adequate estate plan with an attorney. If you are concerned that any money you leave behind will be squandered or will be improperly spent, there are also legal ways to avoid these results. Building a good estate plan, however, is the first step towards achieving your goals. For example, including a power of attorney in your estate plan means you legally designate a trusted person to be in charge of your finances and other private affairs. The best estate plans can distribute your inheritance over time or through the supervision of a responsible estate manager.
Myth # 4 – The Terms of Your Estate Plan Must Be Fair
Most parents hope to treat their children equally in estate plans, dividing everything 50/50. However, in reality, this may not always be the best policy. Your children grow up to have different career goals and aspirations. Many parents realize that leaving family businesses or other assets to the child who’s more responsible is a wiser choice than splitting assets equally. It’s important to discuss with your loved ones as well as an attorney about your assets and who you could trust with them.
Myth # 5 – It’s Too Early to Worry About Estate Planning
It’s no surprise that our lives can change suddenly. Realistically it’s never too early to worry about estate planning. It does not matter how old you are or how many assets you have, creating an estate plan as soon as possible is one of the best things that you can do to achieve the goals of you and your loved ones.
Why Is Creating An Estate Plan Important?
Creating an estate plan is extremely important for you and your loved ones. Your wishes will be stated on a legal document so you and your loved ones will have legal protection. A judge or probate court won’t have to make decisions about your estate and how to divide your assets against your wishes, so long as they are in accordance with your state’s laws. If you have young children, you should definitely think about planning ahead too. If anything happens to you and you leave your child or children without a surviving spouse or other dependents, who will get custody? Without an estate plan, the probate court will appoint a legal guardian or conservator for your child or children. It’s usually another family member like a grandparent. If a minor child or children does not have any surviving family members and a third party, like a family friend, does not step forward, your child or children could enter the foster care system. As you can see, creating an estate plan is extremely important for you, your assets, and your loved ones.
Hire an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today
One of the best first steps that you can take in creating an estate plan is to consult with an experienced attorney. Contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn today at (718) 333-2394.