As Savannah estate planning lawyers we hear a lot of excuses why someone “can’t” or “doesn’t need to” get their estate planning done. There are a lot of estate planning myths and misunderstandings that stop people from protecting their future with an estate plan. Here are the top 5 myths and excuses we hear, with explanations as to why they’re not true.
Estate Planning Myth #1: Estate plans are for wealthy people with lots of assets
So many people unknowingly damage their estates and hurt their heirs because they believe they don’t have “enough stuff” to justify an estate plan. The truth is everything you own, big or small, is subject to the probate legal process to determine what to do with it after you die. Probate is not only long and drawn out, but it also costs money! That money comes from your estate, meaning those precious assets you wanted to pass on could end up being sold to pay for probate and taxes. Fortunately, working with an estate planning lawyer ahead of time allows you to protect your assets using tools appropriate for your situation.
Estate Planning Myth #2: I don’t need an estate plan, my family knows my wishes
There is no guarantee that just because you want things to happen a certain way that they will. Without the correct legal documents, your family will be forced to follow the laws of the state. Unfortunately the state law regarding dispersing assets won’t take your verbak wishes into consideration. Additionally, even though a loved one knows your preferences, he or she may find ways to undermine them for their own gain. The best way to avoid these issues is to work with an estate planning lawyer to ensure things go the way you want.
Estate Planning Myth #3: I don’t need that yet
This is one we often hear when engaging with the public or attending events. While we stand waiting to share our knowledge, many make a wide loop around us shaking their hands “no thank you, I don’t need that yet.” Believing that estate plans are only for those on their death beds can be a catastrophic misjudgement. The reality of the situation is, waiting until a near death experience can actually cause you to be too late to put anything into place. It is important to put an estate plan together while you are well of body and mind. This way, no one can question carrying out the decisions and directions you’ve made.
Estate Planning Myth #4: I already did a will, I don’t need to look at it again
You need to update your documents as your life and the laws change! Not updating your will could accidentally leave your assets in the wrong hands. There are a lot of reasons why you might need to update your estate planning documents. Here is a helpful checklist you can go over to determine if you need a visit to your estate planning lawyer: https://estate.findlaw.com/wills/checklist-reasons-to-update-your-will-amp-estate-planning.html
Estate Planning Myth #5: I don’t need a lawyer, I can do my estate planning myself
Because of the Internet and other advances, individuals now have access to all kinds of estate planning tools they never did in the past. What many people don’t consider, though, is that these “kits” are a one-size-fits-all approach, which generally translates to “one-size-fits-none!” Every situation is different and nuanced, and in order to ensure you’re meeting the laws of Georgia, as well as making the best decisions to protect your assets, it takes human interaction with a professional who knows what he or she is doing.
Time to stop Making Excuses and Act Now
Now that we’ve cleared up these myths, you should have no excuses. The best way to get something done, is to begin. Schedule online today to create or update your estate planning documents!