Estate planning is one of the most misunderstood areas of the law. Since estate planning deals with the division of your property after your death, many people are hesitant to learn more. This is unfortunate, because a well-constructed estate plan is an effective way to protect your family and make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Today we are discussing the truth behind four of the most common estate planning myths.
Myth #1: Estate Planning is Just for the Elderly
Although we commonly view estate plans as instructions for our assets after we pass on, they are much more than that. An estate plan can help you ensure your wishes are met if you are incapacitated, or otherwise temporarily unable to manage your estate. Life brings unexpected challenges, and it is important to make sure your family is protected, regardless of what age you are.
Myth #2: Estate Planning is Just for the Wealthy
While larger estates may require more complex planning, smaller estates can benefit from an estate plan as well. Think of your estate as a collection of all the bank accounts, property, assets, insurance plans, and other financial-related matters that you have garnered over the years. An estate plan will simply help you organize this all and make sure it is distributed according to your wishes, all of which makes life easier for your heirs.
Myth #3: My Will Can Protect My Family from Probate
If anything, the opposite of this myth is true. In most cases, the probate court will look at your will as guidance, and use it to divide up your assets in a long and expensive process. Wills can also be contested in court, so by the time the process is over, your wishes may not be followed at all.
Myth #4: If Property Isn’t in My Will, the Government Will Take It
Property which is included in a will is treated very similarly to unnamed property. The government generally has no ability to seize this property, unless they cannot find any living relatives. However, an estate plan will help you determine how this property will be distributed, rather than letting the issue be settled in probate.
Protect your family’s future. Call our Santa Rosa estate planning attorney today at (707) 595-1148.