Don’t be fooled by these three common estate planning myths

When you think about estate planning and what it involves, it is easy to assume that it is something that can wait, especially if you are younger. However, having a comprehensive estate plan is something that can benefit virtually everyone, regardless of their age, wealth or health status. Therefore, it is important to not let the commonly circulated myths about estate planning discourage you from forming your own estate plan as soon as possible.

Some of the most common myths out there about estate planning include:

1. Estate planning is only for the very rich. The most likely explanation for the persistence of this myth is that financial advisors and attorneys often talk about the importance of using estate planning to minimize and avoid estate taxes, which affects estates of $5.1 million or more. Although this may make it seem that estate planning would be unnecessary for those of more modest means, it involves much more than this. Estate planning is also about making sure that your assets are distributed in the manner you wish them to be, ensuring that someone you approve of is appointed guardian of your children, and making certain that your wishes regarding healthcare are made known in case you become incapacitated.

2. Estate planning is only for the elderly. If you are of a younger age, it may seem out of place or morbid to think about what would happen to your assets after you die. However, death is an eventuality that can strike at any time, even when you least expect it. The news stories of the day are replete with stories of celebrities (e.g. Prince) that died unexpectedly at a fairly young age, without an estate plan. Unfortunately, when this occurs, the estate is left in disarray, forcing the deceased's loved ones to sort it out (which can also cause bitter inheritance disputes and estate litigation).

3. I can do it alone. On the Internet, you can find several do-it-yourself resources. However, most of them take a one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. As a result, they may not address the unexpected, but possible, contingencies that can occur. Because of this, it is important to involve an experienced estate planning attorney during the process. An attorney can analyze your situation and customize the necessary documents for your needs, ensuring that there is a plan in place to avoid the problematic scenarios that can occur.

For more than 30 years, the law firm of Russo, Rosalina & Co., LPA has assisted its clients with estate planning issues. Our experienced attorneys can recommend the best plan for your needs.