Estate planning is one of the most misunderstood areas of Succession Law. It is also one of the most predictable hiccups in a person’s legal roadmap. More often than not, we hear one of the following three statements at the mention of Estate Planning.
- “I’m too young.”
- “I don’t have enough assets.”
- “I need to create a financial plan first.” (It is great to have a financial plan, but it does not necessarily need to come before you start planning your Estate.)
All of these statements are myths that have influenced the decision making of millions of Americans. But no longer! At the Law Office of Edward J. McCloskey, we have given hundreds of Louisiana residents peace of mind by guiding them, step-by-step, throughout their Estate Planning journey. Here are some of the most common myths we have heard and had the pleasure to dispel.
I am Too Young to Begin Estate Planning
Not to sound dark, but no one really knows when it’s time to say goodbye, which is why terms like “YOLO” and “Live Every Day Like It Is Your Last” plaster social media and home decor stores. More importantly, Estate Planning isn’t a doomsday preparation session, and it doesn’t have to be morbid. We look at it this way: Estate Planning is a way of celebrating all of the people who will inherit your assets after you pass away.
Even if you live a long, healthy life, it is much easier to revise your Will or Trust as time goes on than to write one after you’re dead.
I Just Need a Will to Cover All of My Assets
For some, this may be the case. A Will is a document that dictates how your assets will be distributed after you die. If you don’t have any dependents, life insurance policies, or retirement accounts, a Will might actually be all you need.
For everyone else, Estate Planning takes a little more finessing, and it’s much easier when there is a professional on your side to help you navigate each hurdle. Your attorney will help you determine you have all of the necessary documents in order, such as:
- Designation of Tutorship
- Healthcare Documentation
- Beneficiary Designations
- Durable Power of Attorney
I Do Not Have Enough Money to Worry About Estate Planning
Nonsense! We may live in a capitalist society, but money truly isn’t everything. Everyone has assets and, traditionally, they grow and amass value over time. Once again, your Estate Plan is as much about your loved ones as it is about your own peace of mind. Here’s a good example of why an Estate Plan is important: Will vs. Trust.
- What is a Will? A Will is a legal document that enforces how you want your assets to be distributed and your affairs to be handled upon your death. A Will can appoint tutorship of minors and also disinherit a spouse or child. A Will does go through a probate court and will require a probate attorney.
- What is a Trust? A Trust is a fiduciary relationship and a method or estate transfer. In a Trust, you give another party the ability to handle your assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries. A Trust is a relatively effective method of controlling the distribution of your estate after you die.
Even if you feel like you do not have a lot of money to divide amongst your beneficiaries, you may want to consider things like who gets your car, rare baseball cards, tambourine collection, and other assets.
I Must Treat Family Members Equally in the Distribution of My Assets
The answer to this age-old dilemma is simple. Your children are likely very different people with different skill sets, abilities, and needs. Yes, you should treat everyone with equal respect and kindness, but when it comes to the division of your assets, it is important to consider what would most benefit your children. If you are passing down a family business or appointing a tutor, it is the fairest decision to put your assets in the hands of the person who is the most willing and most capable to take care of them.
Call the Law Office of Edward J. McCloskey for a Consultation!
Edward J. McCloskey has been helping Louisiana residents with their Succession planning for over 45 years. He knows that it is never easy to get the ball rolling, which is why he and his team will lead you step-by-step through Estate Planning methodically and patiently. Call the Law Office of Edward J. McCloskey for a Consultation! 504-267-3122