Estate planning is an area with widespread confusion that can lead to costly mistakes for you or the beneficiaries of your hard-earned assets. This post summarizes four common estate planning myths.
- Estate planning is just for the wealthy. This myth emanates from the marital deduction, and the federal exemption which is currently >$12M. However, proper estate planning encompasses much more than only the dollar value of your estate. Estate planning is for anyone who: has assets or loved ones, wants to plan in advance for how to distribute their assets, wants to be prepared for mental or physical incapacitation, or who wishes to save money on probate costs and taxes.
- I’m too young for estate planning. We never know when we might need estate planning and by then, it will be too late. This is why we purposefully create estate plans for all of our clients that are modifiable and/or revocable upon a change in family circumstances.
- The state will take my assets. This is not true; however, the state will decide where your assets go. If you pass away without a will, each state will apply its “laws of intestacy” to determine who will get what. So, proper estate planning now allows you to control who will receive your assets, and then they will receive them.
- A will avoids probate. Nope. This may be wishful thinking as probate can be a long and expensive process in which a court may decide who will inherit your assets. While a will provides the court with guidance on your wishes, it is not sufficient to allow your family to avoid the probate process altogether. If you want to avoid – or at least minimize – probate, then you may want to work with a lawyer to help you employ additional planning techniques.
If you are interested in estate planning, the lawyers at FLS would be happy to help you navigate the complexities and misconceptions to help you properly provide for you, your family, and your business.
For assistance with any legal matters related to your business or estate planning, contact Fournier Legal Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.670.3535 now for a consultation and planning session.
Joseph E. Fournier is an Attorney and a CPA who has more than twenty years of experience in a variety of business legal matters, including start-ups and company formations, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, contracts, employment law, commercial litigation, tax planning and audit defense, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He also handles estate planning matters, such as business succession planning, wills, trusts, and probate.