6 Common Misconceptions About Estate Planning

There is a lot of misinformation out there about estate planning. We are inundated with mixed messages telling us to “do this,” and “avoid that!”

As a result, many people have a skewed understanding of the purpose and process of estate planning. In this blog we will detail six of the most common misconceptions about estate planning to help you make an informed decision about protecting your legacy and providing for your family after you’re gone.

1) Estate planning is only for the elderly

Do you have assets to your name? Do you have loved ones? Do you want to avoid compounding your family’s grief over your death by leaving them to pick up the pieces and handle the details that you never planned for? Then it doesn’t matter how old you are—it is never too early to start estate planning! The harsh truth is, death doesn’t care how old you are, and every day you put off creating a will or planning for other aspects of your will you are putting your family and your assets at risk.

2) Estate planning is only for the rich

Estate planning is about more than just wealth. It’s about making a plan for how your affairs will be administered after you’re gone. It’s about making sure your wishes are fulfilled with regard to end-of-life healthcare and how your family and children will be cared for. Estate planning can benefit people in nearly any tax bracket.

3) Having a will is good enough

If you have a will, you are already doing better than a large portion of America with regard to planning your post-mortem affairs, but it is still not enough. Wills do not inherently dictate things such as what will happen if you are incapacitated. Wills also do nothing with regard to creating trusts you may need to make sure your inheritance is distributed to your heirs according to your wishes or in a manner that is favorable with regard to taxes. They do not create a power of attorney, should you need one, nor do they prevent your estate from going through probate, as many people believe—which brings us to the next misconception…

4) Wills prevent probate

Probate is a long and often expensive process by which the courts will oversee the distribution of your assets. A will can help provide the court with information about how you wanted your inheritance to be doled out, but it does not in and of itself prevent the probate process. If you want to keep certain assets out of probate, you will need to utilize special trusts or other methods.

5) You can do your own estate planning

We live in a D.I.Y. society where everyone thinks they can do everything themselves. But would you conduct brain surgery if you weren’t a neurosurgeon? Some things are better left to trained professionals, and estate planning is one of them. There is far too much at stake, and far too many intricacies to try to handle it yourself.

6) Executor will handle affairs if you are incapacitated

Many people believe that if they name an executor for their estate, that person will also be in charge of their affairs should they ever become incapacitated. This is false. Executors only administer your estate after you die. They cannot make decisions about your end-of-life care or your estate while you are incapacitated. For that you need to create a power of attorney and an advanced healthcare directive.

Do not allow yourself to be a victim of estate planning misinformation and myths. Please contact Amsberry Law and let us guide you to a better future for your family through a well-planned estate.

Written by Amsberry Law Firm

Amsberry Law Firm

Mr. Amsberry is board-certified in family and labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also active in family law, estate and elder law, and business law. He is a proven litigator who has argued before the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and earned favorable outcomes in complex, precedent-setting employment and civil rights cases. He served as a reservist assistant judge advocate general in the U.S. Army and is a sought-after lecturer and speaker on a range of legal issues.