Estate planning provides many benefits to individuals and their families which include asset management, legacy succession, asset protection and incapacity planning just to name a few examples. Despite the many benefits of a thoughtfully estate planning strategies, many people postpone the decision to develop an estate plan. Sometimes this decision to defer estate planning is influenced by popular myths and misconceptions about the estate planning process. Wichita estate planning lawyer J. Joseph Weber dispels common estate planning myths in this estate planning article.
Myth 1 – Estate planning is only important for those with significant wealth.
While those with substantial assets and high net worth might require a more sophisticated estate plan, all adults can benefit from basic strategies and documents concerning these important issues. For example, parents should have a will that nominates a guardian for their children if the parents die in an unanticipated accident. Parents also might want to set up a trust to manage their assets, so their children’s guardians have financial resources to provide for their children’s needs. A spendthrift trust also might be a prudent consideration to ensure that your children’s legacy does not run out prematurely. College age children might need a financial power of attorney, so their parents can get medical or insurance information following a debilitating injury. The bottom line is that estate planning provides such a wide array of benefits that virtually anyone can improve their situation with at least a basic estate plan.
Myth 2 – Estate planning legal services are extremely expensive, so average folks cannot afford to retain an attorney.
While sophisticated estate planning involves a high level of specialized legal knowledge, we can customize our estate planning services to meet the goals and budget of our clients. Sometimes a more simple estate plan is sufficient for younger adults who are just starting out. Most people revise their estate plan multiple times during their lifetime, so a more basic estate plan might later be revised as the size and complexity of your estate increases.
Myth 3 – DIY self-help books and software programs provide an effective inexpensive estate planning solution.
While these self-help solutions might seem like a way to engage in estate planning on a budget, this approach can constitute a costly mistake. Estate planning documents need to be customized to fit your unique situation which requires an analysis of the nature and value of your assets, family relationships and other relevant considerations. A generic form where you fill in the blanks can result in critical errors and omissions that frustrate your intentions and that result in avoidable expenses. These pre-printed or template forms might not even comply with the legal formalities of your state. Even if these crude documents comply with the required technical formalities to be enforceable, selection of estate planning tools and drafting of documents involves careful analysis of many areas of state and federal law. Business owners understand that you should not go to a stationary store to purchase contracts for your business which is the equivalent of purchasing generic boilerplate estate planning documents.
If you have additional questions, you might want to read Part II of this blog post. The Weber Law Office, P.A welcomes the opportunity to talk to you about an estate plan suited to your needs and goals. We invite you to call us at (316) 265-7802 or submit an inquiry form through this website to schedule your initial consultation.