Estate Planning is one of the most necessary and responsible things an adult can do to protect their family and assets. However, many people neglect to consult with an estate planning attorney or even talk about their estate planning needs due to common misconceptions. Below, we address 5 common misconceptions surrounding estate planning and share things to consider as you determine whether to meet with an Estate Planning Attorney.
1. Estate Planning is Just for the Rich and Famous
People often think Estate Planning is just for people who have lots of money, property, and assets. While people who are affluent should definitely have an estate plan, estate planning is appropriate for people with various economic backgrounds. For example, if a person owns no property but is a parent of minor children, he/she should create a will to give their executor guidance as to who to care for their child(ren) in the event of their untimely passing. Or, if a person has special desires regarding what to do in the event he/she gets ill and cannot make personal decisions (e.g. desiring a preferred medical treatment or health care provider), an Advanced Directive will guide doctors and specialists to make decisions in line with the individual’s wishes. While it is important to put an estate plan in place to protect your property and financial assets, an estate plan also protects a person’s wishes and family- which is something all people should do regardless of income level.
2. Estate Planning is Most Important for People Who Are Sick or Elderly
Another common misconception people have regarding Estate Planning is that it is just for the sick or elderly. While people who are over the age of 60 are strongly encouraged to create an estate plan, the reality is that Estate Planning is appropriate for people of all ages. Each year, people as young as 18 are opening businesses, getting married, having children, getting divorced, or even inheriting property. It is irresponsible to wait until one has reached retirement age to start making estate plans. Likewise, a person does not have to be ill before considering drafting a Will or Advanced Directive. This is true because no one can peek into the future. Life changes rapidly and an unexpected illness, accident, or random event could strike anyone’s family. By law, a person must be of sound mind for a will to be legally enforceable. It is best to have your estate plan in place long before it is needed rather than to need it and not be able to create a legally enforceable Will. This is a sobering reality, but one that should be considered-ESPECIALLY if a person has family, property, businesses, or assets that need to be protected, covered, and provided for.
3. Estate Planning is Expensive
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions people have when it comes to Estate Planning is the idea that it will cost a lot of money to meet with an Estate Planning Attorney. While there are lawyers for every income level, our Firm takes pride in offering professional Estate Planning services at a reasonable rate. Estate Plans can be as simple as a basic will or as complex as a plan encompassing a will, medical trust, power of attorney, advanced directive, and guardianship nomination. No Estate Plan is “cookie-cutter” and consulting with an Estate Planning Attorney can ease your mind about the costs. The reality is, knowing that your family and assets are protected is truly INVALUABLE!
4. I don’t Need A Lawyer to Create a Will
While it is true that in Georgia, a lawyer is not necessary for a person to create a will, there are several things that are required for a Will to be legally binding. For instance, as mentioned above, a person must be of sound mind and body to create a will. The execution of a will must also be witnessed by two people who do not benefit from the document. There are countless other legal nuances that must be taken into account when creating a will. Although there are countless legal programs available to the general public, there has been an increasing trend of these documents being rendered UNENFORCEABLE. Although people mean well when they create these documents, because they lack legal knowledge, they wind up creating more hassle for their loved ones. If you are going to take the time to create a will, consider hiring a professional to assist you so that you can be sure it will be legally enforceable. Otherwise, your family and assets that mean so much to you could end up unprotected.
5. Estate Planning is Depressing and Gloomy
Although Estate Planning causes people to think about death, illness, or accident, we have found that our clients actually enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have created sound documents that adequately reflect their wishes and protect the assets they worked so hard to get and the family that they love dearly. Our Firm streamlines the Estate Planning process. First, we provide a FREE pre-estate planning worksheet. Then, we have a comprehensive follow-up consultation with the client to advise on the appropriate estate plan. Last, we create a drafting and execution schedule that gives the client time to review the documents to ensure accuracy. Knowing that we provide our clients with peace and confidence that their family is both provided for and protected brings us immense joy. Download your FREE pre-estate planning worksheet HERE. Once you are ready to move forward, give us a call at 770-692-8481 OR use our online scheduler to schedule a consultation.