Downs Law Firm, P.C.

Estate Planning myths

Don’t Fall for Estate Planning Myths!

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Your work isn’t done just because you have a will.

There are many myths floating around about wills, trusts and estate planning. Those myths can easily confuse people who haven’t taken the time to bust them, before getting on to the real work … taking care of the family, according to the Cleveland Jewish News in “Estate planning myths common, but debunkable.”

One common myth is that a trust is completely creditor protected. While there are some trusts that achieve this goal, there are many that don’t. It is easier to provide that to your beneficiaries that to yourself.

Another myth is that once an estate plan is completed, there’s no need to revisit or make changes. We look at the planning you put in place as essentially an ongoing rough draft.

Perhaps the biggest myth around estate plans is that they are only needed by wealthy people. Actually, everyone needs a will. A property power of attorney can save your loved ones thousands of dollars and massive aggravation.

People chat with their friends and neighbors and pick up snippets of information, which is usually incorrect. As with any kind of story, once a piece of information has moved through a few different people, it becomes confusing, even if it started out accurate. The value of such “Street lawyers” is usually what you pay for it.

Unless it comes from an estate planning attorney, don’t get any legal advice at a neighborhood or family gathering. The results can be disastrous.

If you think having a trust alone is enough to prevent your heirs from having to pay any taxes, your kids will be in for a big and expensive mistake.

If you don’t set up guardianship for your minor children, then the court will appoint a guardian. It’s entirely possible that it may be a person you would never have wanted to raise your children. If a separate financial trustee is not named, there won’t be any checks and balances on how the money left for your children is spent.

If you don’t have an estate plan in place, and especially if your family includes minor children, make an appointment to speak with an estate planning attorney who can advise you on an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances.

Reference: Cleveland Jewish News (Sep. 20, 2018) “Estate planning myths common, but debunkable”