If you’re one of thousands of people in Indiana who have not executed an estate plan, this post is for you because one of the myths featured in it may be the reason you have avoided the process. While no one likes to think about the inevitability of dying and the possibility of becoming incapacitated before then, if you have assets you wish to protect or specific instructions you want others to carry out, there are numerous legal documents that can help you accomplish your goals. However, one of the things that keeps people from entering the estate planning process is misinformation.
By the end of this post, you’ll have learned about four specific myths that people often believe regarding estate planning. You’ll also discover the facts regarding each myth. When it comes to legal documents and planning an estate, knowledge is power because it enables you to make informed decisions.
Myth #1: You only need an estate plan if you’re wealthy
Estate planning is useful to anyone 18 or older and is not specifically for people of high net worth. In fact, you might have a family heirloom that is not worth a lot of money but is rich in sentimental value that you wish to pass on to a particular person. There are also many other plans you can construct that do not centrally focus on money or wealth, such as choosing a guardian for your children.
Myth #2: If you’re not married, there’s no point in estate planning
Millions of single people in Indiana and throughout the country have estate plans. If you have preferences about end-of-life care or wish to set monies aside for a particular charity or person, you can use an advance directive and a revocable or irrevocable trust to accomplish these goals. Being married is in no way a prerequisite for executing an estate plan.
Myth #3: Not having a plan in place means there won’t be a probate process
Even if you do not have a last will and testament or any other type of estate planning document in place, your estate must pass through probate when you die. In fact, you can use the estate planning process to help loved ones avoid probate in certain circumstances, such as by placing a particular asset in trust. However, not having a will or estate plan does not mean your estate will not be probated.
Myth #4: Estate planning is for old people
This myth has unfortunately convinced a lot of people to disregard the estate planning process in their younger years, many of whom then suffered unexpected death, leaving their loved ones with a mass of legal issues to resolve. What if you become incapacitated from injuries in a car accident?
Do you want medical officials to make decisions about your health, or would you rather make such decisions ahead of time so that your loved ones and doctors know what you would have wanted had you been able to act on your own behalf? You can explore estate planning options at any time and add to your plan as needed, provided you’re age 18 or older and can demonstrate testamentary capacity, meaning soundness of mind and understanding of what you are doing.