Top 10 Estate Planning Myths & Misconceptions
If you have ever heard, said, or believed any of these statements, then you have fallen prey to some of the most common Myths & Misconceptions about Estate Planning. Every single one of these is a falsehood.
Whether you are single or married with kids, in your twenties or your eighties, come from modest means or are the beneficiary of a dynasty trust, you need an effective estate plan as much as the next person (Myths #1-3).
Do you really want the State of North Carolina dictating who receives your property? Many married people think estate planning is not that big of a deal because everything will end up going to their spouse anyway. FALSE! Under North Carolina law, your spouse will only receive a portion of your estate. Who gets the rest? Your parents! The State doesn't care that your spouse needs your resources in order to make ends meet every month.
Do not confuse Estate Planning attorneys with funeral home directors. Estate planning involves a lot of PLANNING FOR LIFE and developing ways to protect your family right now (Myth #5). A Will is only one of the estate tools needed to properly and thoroughly protect you and your loved ones. If a Will is all you have, then both you and your loved ones are still at risk (Myth #10).
Our April, 2016 post went into greater detail about how property ownership greatly impacts estate planning and why a recent relocation may signal a need for a review of your estate plan (Myth #7). Two of the most important factors are 1) moving to North Carolina from a community property state (Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin) and 2) owning property in more than one state.
The next time you visit your dentist, hand him your glasses and tell him that you're not seeing too well so you were wondering if he could evaluate your prescription while you were there. Who cares if he looks at you like you have two heads? Your dentist is a doctor. Your optometrist is a doctor. All doctors are the same, right? OF COURSE NOT! Why, then, would you believe that all lawyers are the same? Please do not ask the guy who gets you out of your traffic tickets to do your will. It makes as much sense as handing your glasses to your dentist (Myth #8).
Don't go it alone! A D-I-Y will is a recipe for disaster (Myth #9). This mistake will end up costing your family much more than the little bit of money you might save downloading an internet form. You may think "I can't afford to meet with an attorney." The truth is you can't afford not to. You may lose your breath laughing over your latest "Pinterest Fail," but no one will be laughing when your $99 will is thrown out of court or the trust you created to avoid probate fails and your creditors consume your estate.
If you need surgery to save your life, you rely on a trained professional to do the work.
Let a trained professional do the work to save your legacy!