There is an exercise that is often used during group training sessions. The facilitator hands someone a story written on a slip of paper, and it is passed along via confidential whispers person to person.
When everyone has been informed, the last person to hear the news is asked to tell everyone what they were told. In the end, the facilitator reads the original statement word for word, and it is clear that the details were distorted as the story was passed down.
This kind of thing enter the picture when it comes to misconceptions that circulate about estate planning, and we will look at some common myths in this post.
Estate planning is strictly for senior citizens.
Caring.com conducts research into the subject of estate planning preparedness each year, and the results are not encouraging. In 2020, 16.4 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 had estate plans in place. The figure was 27.2 percent for individuals in the 35 to 54 age group.
Surprisingly, just 47.9 percent of respondents that were 55 years of age and older had wills or trusts. All these figures for 2020 are lower than they were in 2019, so the numbers are trending in the wrong direction.
The idea that estate planning can be placed on the back burner until you are a senior citizen makes sense from one perspective. Yes, most people do not pass away before their time, but there is another element that is quite relevant.
Children of senior citizens are going to be adults in their own right. In almost all cases, they do not rely on their parents for support, so a lack of planning would not have a devastating impact.
On the other hand, many adults that are in the younger age groups are the parents of dependent children, and most of them have spouses. A sudden loss of one income could make a horrible situation that much worse, and there is also the matter of child guardianship.
Every responsible adult should have an estate plan in place, and it is an absolute must when you have other people depending on you.
Trusts are only for the rich.
This is a very damaging myth, because there are trusts that are very useful for people that are not multimillionaires. The revocable living trust is the ideal alternative to a simple will for a number of different reasons, and there are other types of trusts that satisfy specific objectives.
You should definitely discuss all of your options with an estate planning attorney before you make any final decisions.
The inheritors receive their bequests right after the death of the testator when a will is used.
This misconception has been perpetuated in fictional dramatizations that you may have seen in movies or on television shows. There is a “reading of the will” by the executor after the funeral, and it is depicted as the beginning and end of the process.
In reality, a will is admitted to probate, and the court provides supervision during the administration phase. No inheritances are distributed while the estate is being probated, and it will take eight or nine months at minimum in most jurisdictions.
If you use a living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan instead of a will, the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
It’s easy to plan your estate on your own using boilerplate documents that you buy online.
Why don’t people draw up their own documents when they buy a home? If you wanted to sue someone, would you try to figure out how to do it on your own?
Estate planning involves arranging for the transfer of all of your resources to the people you love the most. This is a profound endeavor, and it is really not an appropriate DIY project.
You facilitate asset transfers when you plan your estate, and that’s the long and short of it.
Obviously, you have to state your wishes with regard to the distribution of your resources when you plan your estate. This being stated, you should also account for end-of-life eventualities.
Many people become unable to make sound decisions late in their lives, and you can account for this if you execute the appropriate incapacity planning documents.
You can record your life support preferences in a living will, and you name a medical decision-maker in a durable power of attorney for health care.
If you have a living trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive and well, and you can designate a disability trustee to assume the role in the event of your incapacity.
A durable power of attorney for property can be added to name a representative to handle property that is not held by a trust.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
We are here to help if you are ready to work with an estate planning attorney to put a plan in place. Since we have offices in Westport and Glastonbury, most people in Connecticut can easily reach one of our locations.
You can set up a consultation appointment if you call us at 860-548-1000, and you can alternately send us a message through our contact page.