There are several misconceptions floating around in estate planning; let’s take a look:
“I’m young, so I don’t need a will.” This is not true. One of the most important parts of a will for a young couple, is a provision that designates a guardian—the person(s) who will care for their young children in the event of their mutual death. This is rare, although it does happen. To make matters worse, what if there’s a family fight for custody of your children? Make this selection so the court isn’t forced to select a guardian for your minor children, if the event arises. An estate plan will give you peace of mind concerning the care of your children.
“I really don’t have much of an estate, so I don’t need an estate plan.” This is also not true. Even if you don’t have young children, a will or trust is essential for the distribution of your personal effects. Surprisingly, even some very large estates have been contested, simply because of disputes over small items.
Typically, large cash amounts can be resolved without difficulty because the details should be provided in the will or better yet, a trust. However, sentimental family items, like jewelry, family photographs, a valuable baseball card collection and other articles can become the source of conflict and lawsuits. Your estate plan will clarify your wishes.
An estate planning attorney might also advise you to use techniques like Payable on Death transfers, TOD deeds or other non-probate transfers that simplify and speed up most asset transfers after death, without probate although this is not the best plan for everyone. There are more important considerations than just the ability to avoid probate. Even if these types of distributions are appropriate for your estate a good estate planning attorney will recommend that you have a will prepared as a backup, in case you’ve forgotten to provide for the transfer of any asset.
The emotional and sentimental items owned by a person may be of great importance to his or her heirs. Failure to carefully describe your plans for distribution of those items at death, can frequently generate conflicts that are just as bad—and sometimes worse—as the conflict over monetary funds. We’re here to help you with that; just call our office at 757.259.0707 or “request a consultation” online so that we can get you started with your estate plan.
Reference: Pauls Valley Daily Democrat (March 1, 2017) “More on estate planning myths”