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For Immediate Release

Four Common Misconceptions about Estate Planning

Estate planning is only necessary if you are old and wealthy.

Essentially, by opting not to make your own plan you’re accepting the choices imposed under state law. This not only means that your wishes may not be fulfilled, it may also mean that your family may have an unnecessarily difficult time settling your estate. And estate planning includes more than just distributing your assets after death; it also includes determining how critical lifetime medical and financial decisions will be made in the event that you are incapacitated.

Once you’ve done estate planning and prepared documents, you’re done.

Your life will change in the next five, ten, and more years. The laws will change as well. Estate planning, like everything else in life, is an ongoing process that should be regularly reviewed with your estate planning attorney. You create a plan to help reduce uncertainty under current circumstances—this doesn’t really work unless you consider estate planning a process rather than an isolated task.

Having a Will is good enough.

The days of the simple Will are over. A complete estate plan includes documents that address distribution of your retirement plans and life insurance, management of any individually-owned businesses, guardianship of your dependents, and medical care while you are still living but unable to make your own decisions. It is vital to work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to ensure all bases are covered.

You do not need a Will or estate planning if you have no living relatives or heir.

If you want to support your state government, then ignore post-death planning and get on with your life (after taking care of your Power of Attorney and Health Care directives). Otherwise, you may want to consider smart charitable giving, whether outright or through a trust or foundation. This can be highly rewarding during your lifetime and provide a meaningful legacy.

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