Estate planning myths debunked: common misconceptions about estate planning

Estate planning is necessary to ensure your assets go where you want them to, who you want them to go to, and that they’re distributed in the manner you wish. However, when many people are asked about their estate planning, they reply that they don’t have any because they don’t have any property or money to bequeath. However, it’s not just about how much money or what kinds of property you have.

Myth #1: Estate planning is only for the wealthy

Whether you have a small amount of assets or an extreme fortune, estate planning can help protect your family and your legacy. The truth is that everyone – not just the wealthy – should have an estate plan, not just wealthy people. If you have $500 or $500 million in assets, you want your heirs to know how to manage them, and there will be plenty of costs associated with administering your estate. Estate planning minimizes the burden that your family will take on during a time which is already difficult.

Myth #2: I don’t need an estate plan because I don’t own a home or have minor children

An estate plan is important whether you’re single or married, own your home or rent, and whether you have minor children in the house or not. Many people believe that they don’t need a will or other estate planning documents because they are too young and do not have any property worth fighting over. However, regardless of age, the laws of your state will determine who inherits the property you do have and how it is divided up if you do have a will.

Myth #3 A Will Avoids Probate

A will handles assets that are in your name alone at the time of your death. A will still needs to be probated in Surrogate’s Court before an executor can distribute your estate to your beneficiaries. Depending on your assets and other factors involved, probate can take up to several years in New York. Therefore, if you own a house, it is worth creating a trust and transferring the house into the trust to avoid probate.

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