Sometimes people delay estate planning until they are facing imminent mortality. Others never get to it at all.
If you are thinking about it now, when you are younger, that’s a very good first step. Estate planning requires time and attention. The earlier you begin, the sooner you have the necessary documents in place.
Why do people frequently get sidetracked or discouraged when it comes to estate planning? They often unquestioningly accept common misconceptions about making their estate plan. Finding out the truth may make you less reluctant and just might persuade you to get started.
Banishing some widely-held estate planning notions
It’s worth examining some of these misconceptions to see what the facts actually are:
- You don’t need a will if you tell everyone what you want. You’re sure that your loved ones will be aware of what you want done with your savings and personal items. Without a will, however, what if they all start arguing over what you left behind? The fighting could go on for years. Putting it all in writing is the only way to ensure that your preferences are honored after you pass away.
- If you are young, you don’t need to consider estate planning yet. Not true. Even at an early point in your life, you may already have substantial savings, art, real estate and a retirement account, plus other items that are meaningful to you. You need to decide how you want all these things dealt with after your death. If you have a spouse and children, this matter is even more crucial. It’s also wise to plan ahead in case something unforeseen befalls you.
- You intend to bequeath your belongings to your spouse, so why bother with an estate plan? Have an estate plan of your own anyway. Although it’s painful to think about, your partner could predecease you. At least with an estate plan, there will be no misinterpretation of your final instructions.
Don’t leave anything to chance with an issue this important to you and to your family’s future. If you get stuck on some detail or are not certain about what is legally appropriate, ask someone who definitely knows.