• By: Legacy Law Centers
  • Published: May 8, 2024
Image depicting estate planning concept, debunking common misconceptions about the process - Legacy Law Centers

Estate planning is immensely important, serving as the means by which you can ensure your assets and money are passed on to your loved ones when you pass on or are incapacitated. Yet, despite this, estate planning misconceptions abound, causing countless people to miss out on vital tools and resources that are perhaps the surest way to preserve their wealth for generations to come.

Based in Leesburg, VA, and Nashville, TN, Legacy Law Centers is dedicated to providing robust and comprehensive estate planning beyond the four walls of our practice. Our estate planning lawyers have prepared this article to dispel some common estate planning misconceptions and empower you with the knowledge necessary to make wise decisions that will significantly impact you and your loved ones’ lives.

Estate Planning Is Only For The Wealthy

This is perhaps the most common of all the estate planning misconceptions we’ve come across over the life of our practice. What’s ironic is that it’s also arguably the furthest from the truth.

The truth of the matter is that estate planning is for people of any and all income levels. Regardless of how valuable your estate may be, you can – and will – benefit from developing and having a comprehensive estate plan in place that ensures your assets are distributed as you want them to be.

There are some instances where you may not benefit as much from having an estate plan in place as other instances, but that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit at all from having a basic plan. Consider an instance of small estate administration in either Tennessee or Virginia. Both states have thresholds of $50,000 in place such that if an estate is valued less than this amount, the assets of the estate can be passed on to its beneficiaries in a much more simple process. Having a plan that serves as some base level of guidance will still nonetheless help beneficiaries through the process.

Estate Planning Is Only About Passing On Money And Property

Continuing with the situation described in the previous section, it’s important to understand that estate planning isn’t limited to delegating property and assets to pass on; it also includes delegating authority to others to make decisions for you while you’re still alive. Common examples of this include powers of attorney and various healthcare-related directives. These documents are legally-recognized authorization granting decision making responsibilities to others if you’re in a position where you can’t undertake doing so yourself.

Estate Planning Is Only For Older People

Many believe estate planning is something really only worth your concern once you’re above a certain age, usually around the retirement age. In reality, it’s never too early to start planning for the future. Accidents can – and do – happen to people, and they are no respecter of age. Having even a simple plan in place can go a long way to protect you and any loved ones who may be dependent on you in some capacity. Even if you’re a young and single working professional or a young parent with small children, you will serve anyone you’d want to directly benefit from your life’s work well by setting up some sort of a plan that directs your property to them or empowers them to make decisions on your behalf to do so in your place.

All I Need Is A Will

Many people equate estate planning with simply having a will. Although a will is a core part of a robust estate plan, it isn’t the be-all and end-all. Beyond what was mentioned earlier, i.e., powers of attorney and healthcare directives, trusts also play an incredibly important role in a solid estate plan. Distinct from wills, they enable you to protect assets by minimizing tax burdens, among other things. There are different types, each with its own characteristics and benefits. Discussing your situation with a revocable trusts lawyer or irrevocable trusts lawyer and seeing whether one will be of value to you is a wise route to take.

DIY Estate Planning Is Sufficient

If you’re hands-on, you’re inclined to want to manage things on your own, estate planning included. And with so many do-it-yourself tools available today, it likely doesn’t seem unreasonable to you that you’d be able to. But beware – these resources so often fail to take into account individual circumstances and state-specific laws. This can end up demanding more of your time and money in legal battles down the road.

Don’t let these estate planning misconceptions continue to cloud your perception of this vital way to protect your assets, your legacy, and your loved one’s well-being. If you have questions or want to begin the estate planning process, email or call Legacy Law Centers at (571) 260-0827 today. We are happy to answer questions specific to your situation and assist you in securing the best future possible for your loved ones that you can.

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