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Common Misconceptions
About Estate Planning

Law Offices of David W. Wilcox Feb. 7, 2022

Many times, people associate the term “estate” with wealthy individuals and celebrities. They mistakenly think that estate planning is only important for those with many assets. However, that is one of the most common misconceptions about estate planning. Everyone can benefit from establishing a well-drafted estate plan regardless of age, financial status, or family dynamics.

An estate plan is a collection of legal documents that clearly specify your wishes regarding different situations and events, such as the distribution of your assets once you pass away, the appointment of a guardian for minor children, the granting of authority for someone else to make financial and medical decisions in the event of your incapacity, and more.

In his experience as an estate planning attorney in Bradenton, Florida, Attorney Wilcox has met many people who thought there was no point in creating an estate plan. In most cases, people thought they did not need an estate plan because they believed in misconceptions about estate planning. However, after consulting with Attorney Wilcox, many of them have changed their minds and now understand the importance of having a well-organized estate plan.

If you’re located in or around Bradenton, Florida, or in Matinee County or Sarasota County, contact the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox for all of your estate planning needs.

Estate Planning Misconceptions

An estate plan can ensure that your loved ones are protected, your wishes are carried out, and your legacy is secure. Creating a solid estate plan also allows you to prevent possible disputes between your heirs when distributing your assets.

It is important to make the distinction between what is true and what is false when creating an estate plan. Let’s take a look at the most common misconceptions about estate planning and reveal the truth:

  • You do not need an estate plan until you retire. False. Estate planning is not just for older people. Just like older individuals who reached their retirement age, younger individuals can also benefit from creating an estate plan to ensure that their wishes are carried out in the event of their incapacity or death.

  • You do not have enough assets to create an estate plan. Many people think they do not need an estate plan until they accumulate a certain amount of money or assets. However, there is no such thing as “enough” assets to necessitate an estate plan. You can benefit from having an estate plan even if you have accumulated little to no assets. While distributing your assets to your loved ones is a major part of estate planning, it is not the only thing an estate plan can do.

  • An estate plan is only needed to distribute your assets after you die. Estate planning is so much more than just distributing assets after your death. An estate plan also allows to you make sure that your children, pets, and other loved ones are taken care of in the event of your death or incapacity. An estate plan can appoint someone you trust to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf when you can no longer communicate your wishes. An experienced estate planning attorney can share with you other goals that can be accomplished through an estate plan.

  • You can use an online estate planning tool instead of hiring a lawyer. Some people want to save money by using online tools to create an estate plan instead of seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney. However, a well-drafted estate plan should be customized and tailored to your specific needs, goals, and wishes. Online estate planning templates provide one-size-fits-all solutions that may work for some but not for others. When creating an estate plan, you may encounter a number of complicated issues that require legal advice. An attorney can ensure that your documents are valid and legally binding.

  • Your family will decide how to distribute assets if you do not leave behind a will. That is a common misconception about estate planning. In reality, if you pass away without a will, which is known as “dying intestate,” your assets will be distributed to your family members according to your state’s intestate succession laws. In other words, dying without a will may not distribute your assets as you would have wished.

  • The only thing you need in your estate plan is a will. While the last will and testament is an integral part of an estate plan, a well-drafted estate plan should usually include more than just a will. You may also benefit from establishing a trust, a financial power of attorney, an advance healthcare directive, and other documents.

  • You have nothing to worry about if you created an estate plan years ago. Just because you have created an estate plan does not mean that you will never have to think about your plan again. Estate planning documents need to be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure that they still meet your needs.

Getting the Experienced
Legal Guidance You Need

If you are not sure you have the facts right when it comes to estate planning, consider speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney. Attorney Wilcox in Bradenton, Florida, provides legal guidance to people throughout Matinee and Sarasota counties. He can help you explore your estate planning options and provide factual information about estate planning in Florida. Schedule a consultation by reaching out to the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox today.