People often have misconceptions about estate planning. Many don't understand why estate planning is important for them or even what it is. This post is intended to give answers to some common estate planning myths and realities. It won't answer every question you have, but you can always contact me if you want to discuss your estate planning options further.
First, what is estate planning? Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for what happens to your "stuff" (and your minor children) when you are gone. With proper estate planning, you can minimize taxes. There are other parts of estate planning that can impact you while you are still alive, too.
So about those estate planning myths and realities...
I don’t own enough assets for estate planning. Estate planning isn’t just about assets. It's about knowing that your family and loved ones are being properly taken care of if something happens to you. Through properly drafted estate planning documents, you can designated a guardian for your minor children. You can set up a trust to provide for their care while they grow.
I’m too young for estate planning. Estate planning is not just for retirees. Although we don’t want to think about the worst case scenario, estate planning is important because it structures your affairs if you pass away or are seriously ill. If you are married or have young children, it is that much more important to ensure that you have an estate plan that protects your loved ones.
In Kentucky, you do have to be an adult (18 or older) to write your own bill, unless you are 16 and older and have a child. Under that limited circumstance, you can have a will that designates who you would want to care for your child if something were to happen to you.
Estate planning lawyers are expensive. At Brackney Law Office, we strive to make professional and personalized legal services affordable. Most estate planning matters are handled for a flat fee, though more complex matters are billed on an hourly basis.
I can “fill out the forms” online. Sometimes even a seemingly simple situation has surprise legal consequences. It is important to have a Kentucky lawyer review your unique situation and provide a personalized plan for you and your family. I've seen situations where folks have not had any trouble using online forms, but I've also seen situations where it has created a lot of additional headaches and costs for those cleaning up the pieces of an improperly drafted or improperly executed estate planning document.
If I die without a will, the state will seize my property. The Commonwealth of Kentucky won't take all of your assets if you die without a will (called dying intestate), but there are default laws that determine how your assets would be distributed if you die without a will.
I can’t change my estate plan once it is in place. Many people are too afraid to think about their estate plan because they are concerned they’ll later change their mind about what they’ve decided. Most estate plans can be changed and revised as often as you’d like. In fact, if you haven't looked at your estate plan in awhile it may need to be updated based on changes in the law or your circumstances.
Take a proactive step by contacting an estate planning attorney at Brackney Law Office, PLLC, to schedule a consultation by calling (859) 559-4648. You can also learn more about our estate planning services and download a fact-finder to get started by clicking here.