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Four Myths Many People Believe About Estate Plans

Most of us are familiar with estate plans: wills, trusts, or other legal documents that include important information about the disposition of our property and assets upon death.

However, due to many myths surrounding estate plans, many of us simply don't feel estate planning is necessary or should even require the assistance of an attorney.

Below is a list of myths surrounding estate plans people often believe and why they simply aren't true.

Myth #1: Estate plans are only for wealthy individuals

It's true wealthy individuals with substantial assets should have a comprehensive estate plan in place. However, even if you have nominal assets, you should still have an estate plan. This is because we all have wishes we want carried out in the event of our death.

Burial arrangements, the care and maintenance of beloved pets, end-of-life medical treatments, and who will handle our business affairs in the event of our illness or incapacity - these are just a handful of examples that have nothing to do with wealth or money.

Myth #2: Free forms are available online so I don't need an attorney to help with my estate plan

It's true that the internet provides a surplus of free legal estate planning forms. However, they are typically very simple and in a one-size-fits-all format. These forms do not account for each person's unique situation or needs nor do they take into account individual state laws. A failure to adhere to a simple requirement could invalidate your entire document. Getting the assistance of an attorney who has a thorough knowledge of the rules and procedures regarding estate planning is essential to making sure your document will hold up in court and accomplish your ultimate goals.

Myth #3: Everything I own will go to my dependent children, so I don't need a plan

Without a trust, will or estate plan designating your children as the beneficiaries of all of your property, your assets will be distributed based on state law when you pass away. This is known as intestate succession.

Typically, there is a ranking of heirs. Depending on the jurisdiction, the first heir to inherit your property may not necessarily be your children. You should consult with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to determine who your intestate will be.

Myth #4: My relatives will take care of my children when I die

If you have children, creating a will or estate document in the event you pass away is crucial. Your relatives may not be emotionally, physically or financially capable of caring for your children — and in a way that you would want them to. Further, if you have a special needs child, without a special needs trust or other important estate planning tool, your child may not continue to receive the appropriate government services or financial support in the event you pass away. Their inheritance could make them ineligible for benefits.

Myth #5: I own a business but my spouse will take care of everything if I pass away

Owning a business is a complex endeavor and, if it's successful, you'll want to make sure that success continues in the event you pass away. Although a spouse may be a trusted partner, he or she may not have a thorough understanding of your business model or official day-to-day business affairs to keep the company running smoothly. Creating a plan that details important aspects involving business succession is important if you wish to continue your company operations after you pass away

Additional Questions?

Don't hesitate to reach out to a lawyer from our team in Brandon, Florida, for guidance on your individual circumstances. We can talk with you about the various estate planning tools available and which ones would best accomplish your goals.

Call 813-438-7119 today.