Many people are under the misconception that “estate planning” is primarily drafting a last will and testament; however, it’s much more than that. As part of estate planning, you’ll consider durable general (financial) powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, living wills, guardianships and more. Estate planning is more than planning for your death; it is also planning for your future.
Another common misunderstanding is that you are too young to think about estate planning, but there is no magic age, and it’s best to be prepared. Creating a plan while you are still relatively young, healthy, and clear-headed is key, and you can always revise that plan as you age. Having an estate plan in place ensures your wishes and assets are protected and gives you peace of mind if an unforeseen accident or illness occurs.
A third misconception is that any licensed attorney or online legal service can provide proper estate planning advice. Not every situation is the same, so working with an estate planning attorney is key. They have the knowledge and experience to guide you through this process and recommend options that are unique to you. This means: You control who receives your assets after death,
- You decide who takes care of your minor child or a loved one with a disability,
- Your legal fees and taxes are minimized,
- And you are protected in the event you become incapacitated so that you, through the individuals you choose, not the courts, keep control of your assets and make decisions about your medical care the way you predetermine.
When you meet with an estate planning attorney, you’ll be asked hard questions that you may not want to think about or answer, but it will ensure that your decisions and wishes are properly carried out.
There is a lot of conflicting information when it comes to estate planning, talking with an experienced attorney can ensure you have the right information and help guide you through the process.