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Debunking Estate Planning Myths

 Posted on March 22, 2017 in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning lawyersFor many people, estate planning is a vague, nebulous process that involves a person accepting his or her own mortality. Even among those who understand the importance of planning ahead, there are a number of myths regarding estate planning that continue to abound. A comprehensive estate plan is crucial to protecting your assets and your family’s financial future, and the process can be complicated if you believe things that simply are not true. Over the next several posts on this blog, we will address some of the most common estate planning myths, beginning with:

Myth: Estate Planning Is for Older People

Young adults, in many cases, are still shaking off their adolescent concept of invincibility, but it can take a while for that to actually happen. By the time they reach their 30s and 40s, they may understand that bad things can occur but still see estate planning as not quite necessary yet.

Reality: It is never too early to begin estate planning. The moment you begin amassing property of your own or become a parent, you need to start thinking about the future. Tragedy can strike at any time, leaving questions regarding the status of your possessions and, possibly, the guardianship of your children. Also, keep in mind that your concept of “older people” is going to change continually throughout your life. Consider the world-famous musician Prince, who died last year at the age of 58—without an estate plan in place. Could it be possible that he was waiting until he was older to develop a plan that covered his $200 million estate?

Myth: You Should Always Avoid Probate

Many online resources and experts rage on about the evils of probate, making it sound like the process is designed to take your money and prevent your wishes from being carried out for as long as possible. You failed to make other arrangements so probate is your punishment.

Reality: The costs and time investment of probate may be less than those of other alternatives for many people. Probate is the formal process the state uses to validate your will, resolve your outstanding debts, provide beneficiaries the opportunity to challenge the will, and distribute your assets as directed in your estate plan. If you do not have a will, the state will use probate to allocate your property in accordance with existing intestacy laws.

Depending on the size and the nature of your estate, you may be able to save time and money by avoiding probate, but that is not always the case. If your estate is a relatively modest one, taking steps to avoid probate may cost more than simply allowing your will to be presented for probate. There will certainly be costs associated with probate, but assuming probate is always bad can lead to poor estate planning decisions.

Work With a Knowledgeable Lawyer

At A. Traub & Associates, we take pride in helping our clients understand the estate planning process and work with them in finding solutions that protect themselves and their families. To learn more about how we can help you, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney today.



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